2022 AMC 12A Problems/Problem 12


Let $M$ be the midpoint of $\overline{AB}$ in regular tetrahedron $ABCD$. What is $\cos(\angle CMD)$?

$\textbf{(A) } \frac14 \qquad \textbf{(B) } \frac13 \qquad \textbf{(C) } \frac25 \qquad \textbf{(D) } \frac12 \qquad \textbf{(E) } \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2}$


[asy] /* Made by MRENTHUSIASM */ size(200); import graph3; import solids;  triple A, B, C, D, M; A = (2/3*sqrt(3)*Cos(90),2/3*sqrt(3)*Sin(90),0); B = (2/3*sqrt(3)*Cos(210),2/3*sqrt(3)*Sin(210),0); D = (2/3*sqrt(3)*Cos(330),2/3*sqrt(3)*Sin(330),0); C = (0,0,2/3*sqrt(6)); M = midpoint(A--B);  currentprojection=orthographic((-2,0,1));  draw(A--B--D); draw(A--D,dashed); draw(C--A^^C--B^^C--D); draw(C--M,red); draw(M--D,red+dashed);  dot("$A$",A,A-D,linewidth(5)); dot("$B$",B,B-A,linewidth(5)); dot("$C$",C,C-M,linewidth(5)); dot("$D$",D,D-A,linewidth(5)); dot("$M$",M,M-C,linewidth(5)); [/asy] ~MRENTHUSIASM

Solution 1 (Right Triangles)

Without loss of generality, let the edge-length of $ABCD$ be $2.$ It follows that $MC=MD=\sqrt3.$

Let $O$ be the center of $\triangle ABD,$ so $\overline{CO}\perp\overline{MOD}.$ Note that $MO=\frac13 MD=\frac{\sqrt{3}}{3}.$

In right $\triangle CMO,$ we have \[\cos(\angle CMD)=\frac{MO}{MC}=\boxed{\textbf{(B) } \frac13}.\] ~MRENTHUSIASM

Solution 2 (Law of Cosines)

Without loss of generality, let the edge-length of $ABCD$ be $2.$ It follows that $CM=DM=\sqrt3.$

By the Law of Cosines, \[\cos(\angle CMD) = \frac{CM^2 + DM^2 - CD^2}{2(CM)(DM)} = \boxed{\textbf{(B) } \frac13}.\] ~jamesl123456

Solution 3 (Double Angle Identities)

As done above, let the edge-length equal $2$ (usually better than $1$ because we can avoid fractions when dropping altitudes). Notice that the triangle stated in the question has two side-lengths that are the altitudes of two equilateral triangles. By dropping the equilateral triangles' altitude and using $30^{\circ}$-$60^{\circ}$-$90^{\circ}$ properties, we find that the other two sides are equal to $\sqrt{3}$. Now by dropping the main triangle's altitude, we see it equals $\sqrt{2}$ from the Pythagorean Theorem. we can use the Double Angle Identities for Cosine. Doing this, we obtain \[\cos(\angle CMD) = \frac{2}{3} - \frac13 = \boxed{\textbf{(B) } \frac13}.\] ~Misclicked

Video Solution 1 (Quick and Simple)


~Education, the Study of Everything

Video Solution 1 (Smart and Simple)



See Also

2022 AMC 12A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 11
Followed by
Problem 13
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

The problems on this page are copyrighted by the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competitions. AMC logo.png