Ancient Indian Rope Geometry in the Classroom - Student Activities

Cynthia J. Huffman (Pittsburg State University) and Scott V. Thuong (Pittsburg State University)

Activity 1. Linear Measure the Ancient Indian Way

This is an activity for elementary and middle school students that involves measuring using three units of length from ancient India:

Download Student Worksheet: Linear Measure the Ancient Indian Way.

Figure 12. Measurement of the height of a participant in an Agnicayana fire altar sacrificial ritual in 2011 in Panjal, Kerala. (Photo courtesy of Professor Michio Yano)

Activity 2. Constructing a Square an Ancient Indian Way (Indoors Version)

This activity can be used with middle school or high school students. Using cardboard, string, and pushpins, the students model one of the several ways for constructing a square used in ancient India in the building of a fire altar. Common Core Standard G.CO.12 recommends making formal geometric constructions with a variety of tools and methods.

Download Instruction Sheet for Instructors: Constructing a Square an Ancient Indian Way.

Activity 3. Constructing a Square an Ancient Indian Way (Outdoors Version)

The above activity can be completed outside in a more realistic fashion, using pegs or stakes instead of pushpins and a rope or cord instead of the string. If there is no open ground available, the activity can be completed on a parking lot using sidewalk chalk, with students holding the pegs in place instead of pounding the pegs into the ground.