Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Virtual School Middle School Honors Geometry students, taught by Pat Wavle, recently completed a project applying their math skills to the real world. The students were given 2 measurements and asked to create a pattern for a dress suitable for a pageant. The dress was to fit a 2 year old. The skirt had to be circular, and had to include a ruffle 5 in. in width that was 7 times the circumference of the skirt. The students worked in groups. One of the first obstacles they encountered was the need to make a circle with a radius larger than any compass they could find. Each group approached the problem from a different perspective and each successfully completed the task. One group tied a pencil to a string; another measured a given distance from a starting point and repeated this until they had enough dots to freehand it, while another group actually made a compass by drilling holes in a yardstick. Each group was applying the definition of a circle as being the locus of all points a given distance (radius) from a given point (center). They also were asked to do a scale drawing showing how their pattern could be laid out on a piece of fabric 60 in. in width and to calculate how much material would be needed for the project. The students were delighted to be called to the media center to see just how successful and accurate they had been when Emily paid them a visit, wearing the dress they had designed for her.

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