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 (http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/HSG/CO/D/12/) recommends making formal geometric constructions with a variety of tools and methods.

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.

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.