More Classroom Activities Based on Ancient Indian Rope Geometry - Student Activities

Cynthia J. Huffman and Scott V. Thuong (Pittsburg State University)
Activity 1. Constructing a Square an Ancient Indian Way (Inside Version)

This activity can be used with middle school or high school students. Using cardboard, string, and pushpins, 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.

Activity 2. Constructing a Square an Ancient Indian Way (Outside 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 rope in place instead of pounding pegs into the ground.

Activity 3. Constructing a Square Fire Altar

This activity provides an application of solving a system of two linear equations in two unknowns for students in an algebra course. It follows instructions for constructing a square gārhapatya fire altar from BSS 7.4-7.7. Since the instructions for constructing the specific fire altar are somewhat vague, the activity allows students to explore constructing a square altar with square paper “bricks” and to discover arrangements themselves.