# Students Enjoyed Indirect Measurement Activity in Math Class

7TH GRADE MATH INDIRECT MEASUREMENT ACTIVITY

Students in Math class enjoyed a Math activity called “Indirect Measurement” and practiced measuring various objects. This specific topic that they had been learning about was called, “similar triangles” Instead of solving dull geometry questions on a worksheet, the students used an interactive method of measurement that was brought to us by the ancient Greek mathematicians. The method was dubbed “indirect measurement”, as stated above and it gave the ancient Greeks the capability to measure things that were too difficult or impossible to measure with almost pinpoint accuracy. When a Greek philosopher named Thales of Miletus, (who has been hailed as the Father of Mathematics), pondered the height of the Great Pyramid. Thales noticed that the shadows in the desert create triangles that were to scale with one another. He also took note that the sun’s shadows fell from every object in the desert at the same angle. Since this is true, the sun’s shadows create similar triangles from every object in the desert. Therefore the height of the Great Pyramid could be easily determined by the length of its shadow relative to the length of Thales’s own shadow. Students applied this technique to measure small class items, (including their math book, a binder, etc.). By measuring these shadows and creating similar triangles, they found the missing sides.  Besides being a fun way of learning “similar figures’ it also answers the typical questions like “when am I going to use this stuff?”   