## Angle Activity

## Program Information

Series: NASA ConnectProgram: Eyes Over Mars

Segment Number: 6 (Watch entire program)

Duration: 00:04:06

Year Produced: 2000

Description:

NASA Connect Segment involving students in a classroom activity that measures shadows and uses geometry to determine sizes of angles.

NASA CONNECT™ is a series of Emmy®-award-winning, math-focused programs. Each program supports the national math, science, and technology standards and has three components that include (1) a 30-minute television broadcast; (2) a companion educator's guide; and (3) an online activity that further explores topics presented in the broadcast. These programs establish a connection between the math, science, and technology concepts taught in the classroom to those same concepts used everyday by NASA researchers.

For more information visit: http://connect.larc.nasa.gov/## Transcript

There are other ways

that we survey the Earth

which Erastothenes

never dreamed of.

NASA scientists

use airplanes and satellites.

But what if you want to

survey other planets like Mars.

NASA scientists are doing

that right now, but first.

Let's head to Central

Middle School

in Charlotte Court House, Virginia.

There students are following

in the footsteps of

Erastothenes.

Hi, welcome to

Central Middle School

in Charlotte Court House, Virginia.

NASA Connect asked us to

show how did the stage activity

for the show.

In this lesson you

work in small groups

to take accurate measurements

of shadows using geometry

to determine the size of an angle.

Here are the materials you

will need for each group:

a straight stake of approximately

ninety one centimeters long, a

meter stick or tape measure, a

piece of string approximately

ninety one centimeters and a

rock or weight, a scientific

calculator, index card, compass,

copies of the student data chart

for each student.

Lets begin.

Divide the class in research

groups of three to five members.

Set your measurement

station by first placing the

gnomon perpendicular to the ground.

For your measurement to be accurate,

it's critical that the gnomon is vertical.

To check the vertical

position, tie the rock or weight

to the string and dangle it above

the ground in front of the gnomon.

Next, measure the height of the

gnomon.

Place an index card under

the station to mark

where the shadow is.

Take measurements every

two minutes beginning

at least ten minutes

before local noon,

which is the time that

the sun is highest in the sky.

This will most likely not be

noon as indicated on your

time measuring device.

Students should note that

when the sun is highest

in the sky the shadow

length is the shortest.

Since the edge of the shadow is

fuzzy and the shadow is moving

from east to west in the Northern

Hemisphere, be careful in deciding

where to place your mark.

Record your data on data chart one.

Now, back in your classroom,

locate the latitude and longitude

of your school location and

record it on data chart number one.

Identify your best shadow link.

This is the best shadow

link at local noon time.

Next, calculate the tangent

by dividing the length

of the shadow by the height of the

gnomon.

Locate this number or the

nearest rounded

number on the tangent table.

The measure of the tangent

can also be found by

the dividing the length of a shadow

by the height of an object

on the scientific calculator.

Record tangent on student data

chart.

Make a scale drawing of your

gnomon and shadow.

Complete the triangle

and measure the tangent

with the protector

to verify the calculations.

What's next Jennifer?

[Jennifer:]

Let's analyze the

data by reviewing the results

of this activity and by responding

to the following questions?

Did the weather conditions affect

the results of this activity?

If so, how?

As the shadow lengthens over time,

how would the angle be affected?

If each group uses a

gnomon with a

different length,

how would that affect the

results of this activity?

For more activities like

this, check out our website

at edu.larc.nasa.gov/connect.

NASA Connect would like to

the special thanks to the mentors

from the AIAA Chapter at Howard

University in Washington DC.

We appreciate all your help

with the student activity.

## Virginia Standards

3rd Grade SOLs » Mathematics » 3.145th Grade SOLs » Mathematics » 5.12

5th Grade SOLs » Mathematics » 5.13

7th Grade SOLs » Mathematics » 7.6

10th Grade SOLs » Mathematics » G.11