Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Students Calculate Heights Using an Inclinometer

Math students calculate heights of buildings

PATRICK SULLIVAN/TIMES-NEWS
Hendersonville Elementary School students Ronnie Monroe, 10, left, Branden Edney, 11, and Martin Zambrano, 10, use an inclinometer to measure the height of buildings on Main Street Hendersonville on Friday. They and other students were working on a math project for school.

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.

If you were walking around downtown on Friday afternoon, you may have noticed children in red shirts measuring the ground and peering into paper tubes, then frantically writing down calculations.

Students from Kerry Stewart’s class spent the afternoon along Main Street figuring out how tall the buildings were. “The children are measuring buildings to see what the height of the building is,” said teaching assistant Rebecca Dinsmore. “Each student is using an inclinometer they made.”

With their inclinometer — a paper tube with a protractor attached and a piece of string — the students peer at the top of the building and use the measurements to determine its height.

“They measure the distance from where they are standing, and they can determine the height of the building without having to climb the building,” Dinsmore said. Eleven-year-old Frances Coss said she had fun measuring with her friend, Folline. “We learned that the city has a height limit of 80 feet,” she said. “We were trying to see if that was true.”

Coss’ friend, Folline Williford, 11, said the project was fun. “Except when we had to stand in the middle of the road,” she said. Williford explained that the students measured 500 centimeters from the building, then used their inclinometers to determine the height. Adam Dunaway, 10, said he thought it was cool learning the heights of the buildings.

All of the students’ hard work will be compiled and entered into the school’s upcoming math fair in February.

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