Geometry

Vector Basics: Adding Arrows

Because we have had a number of questions about vectors recently, I thought it might be time to look at various facets of that topic. Here, we will start with some ideas about what vectors, and their most basic operations, are. Next week, we’ll get into the far more interesting topic of multiplying vectors. What …

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How Much Does the Earth Curve?

We’ve looked at how to find the circumference of the earth, and how far we can see over the horizon. Another kind of question we’ve had about the curvature of the earth is, how much does it curve over a given distance? That has been asked in several different ways, which lead to some intriguing …

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How Far Can I See?

We have been looking at questions about the roundness of the earth, starting with the general fact, and then the determination of the size of the earth. A very common question is about how that roundness affects what we can see, sometimes as a challenge (“If I can see this, then how can the earth …

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Eratosthenes Measures the Earth

Last time we looked at a couple questions about proving the earth is round, which led into questions about how Eratosthenes measured the earth (though that in itself did not prove the earth is not flat). Let’s look at two questions about that project itself. Eratosthenes for third graders The first is from 1995, and …

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Area of Pyramids and Cones

We’ve looked at the volume of a pyramid, the formula for which can be found geometrically by a couple very different methods. Cones can be handled the same way, so we can skim over them. Let’s finish up by considering the surface areas of both cones and pyramids. Volumes and areas I’ll start with a …

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Volume and Surface Area of a Sphere – Without Calculus

We often get questions about deriving formulas for area and volume; usually when the question is about a sphere, the context is calculus, so we talk about integration, the usual modern method. But for students who only know geometry, “wait until you learn calculus” can be unsatisfying. Fortunately, there are a couple ways to do …

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