A square root of a number b is a solution of the equation x2 = b. Every number except 0 has two square roots, a positive and a negative. The positive square root is the principal square root and is written . To denote the negative root, write and to indicate both roots write .
So, we call 5 the “square root” of 25 and write because 52 = 25. (See exponents for more on this.) Since (–5)2 also equals 25 it is also a “square root” of 25, but we write because it is not the principal square root.
Not all numbers have a perfect square root. For instance (The decimal goes on forever and never repeats a pattern. This is called an irrational number.)
One method to find square roots without a calculator is Newton's Divide and Average method:
1) Guess the square root of the number.
2) Divide the guess into the original number.
3) Take the Average of the guess and quotient.
4) Repeat with this average as new guess.
"Guess, Divide, Average, Repeat."(I guess GDAR isn't a great way to remember that...)
The way most people do square roots, these days, is to use a calculator.