Bisectors Of Line Segments


Steps:

  • Place the compass at one end of line segment.
  • Adjust the compass to slightly longer than half the line segment length
  • Draw arcs above and below the line.
  • Keeping the same compass width, draw arcs from other end of line.
  • Place ruler where the arcs cross, and draw the line segment.
  • Draw the line segment you need to bisect. If the line segment is not already given, you will need to make it using a straight edge.
  • Choose an appropriately sized compass. If you open the compass completely, and it spans one-half the length of the line or less, you need to choose a bigger compass.
  • Position the compass on an endpoint. To do this, place the needle of the compass on either endpoint. Open the compass so that it spans a little more than half the length of the line.

Bisecting the Line


 

Draw an arc above and below the line segment. Make sure the needle stays on the endpoint, and that you do not adjust the compass setting.

  • The length of the arcs does not matter.

 
  • Reposition the compass on the other endpoint. Make sure you do not change the compass setting.
  • Draw another set of arcs, above and below the line segment. Make sure the needle stays on the endpoint, and that you do not adjust the compass setting.

The two sets of arcs you’ve drawn should intersect.

  • Connect the arc intersections. To do this, place your straightedge on the point where the arcs above the line intersect, and align it with the point where the arcs below the line intersect.
  • Draw your perpendicular bisector. The line you draw between the two arc intersections bisects the line at a ninety degree angle.
  • You have used the compass to outline two congruent circles centered over either endpoint. The intersecting arcs represent the endpoint of a radii from the center of either circle.
 

The length of the radii will be the same, since the circles are the same size.