# More Classroom Activities Based on Ancient Indian Rope Geometry - Conclusion and Resources

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

### Conclusion

Students can benefit from exploring original sources in mathematics, and the ancient Śulba-sūtras texts from India are a great source of applications of mathematics, especially geometry. These instructions for building fire altars using ropes include constructions of squares and rectangles, along with transformations of one shape to another with the same area. Using GeoGebra applets and hands-on activities, students can explore some mathematical contributions from ancient India, and strengthen their own geometric reasoning. For more of a challenge, students can prove that the instructions are correct, resulting in the desired shape.

Figure 5. Model of a falcon fire altar from an Athirathram ceremony in 2011. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons attributed to Arayilpdas at Malayalam Wikipedia.)

### References and Resources

Common Core State Standards Initiative: http://www.corestandards.org/

[Datta] Datta, Bibhutibhusan. The Science of the Sulbas: A Study in Early Hindu Geometry. Calcutta University Press, 1932.

GeoGebra: http://www.geogebra.org

[Huffman and Thuong] Huffman, Cynthia J. and Scott V. Thuong, "Ancient Indian Rope Geometry in the Classroom," Convergence (October 2015), DOI:10.4169/convergence20151001: https://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/ancient-indian-rope-geometry-in-the-classroom-mathematics-in-ancient-india

[Plofker1] Plofker, Kim. Mathematics in India. Chapter 4 in Katz, Victor, editor. The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook. Princeton University Press, 2007, pp. 385-514.

[Plofker2] Plofker, Kim. Mathematics in India. Princeton University Press, 2009.

[Prasoon] Prasoon, Shrikant. Indian Scriptures. Pustak Mahal, 2010, Ch. 2.

[Sen & Bag] Sen, S.N., and A.K. Bag. The Śulbasūtras. Indian National Science Academy, 1983.

### Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to the editor and anonymous referees for help in improving the article. Thank you to Dr. Janet Beery for suggesting we take a look at Indian rope geometry in the first place.