Year 9 Biretta Maths Activity

On a typical Friday afternoon, we had a rather intriguing Maths class. This particular class required us to not only apply our maths ability, but our problem solving, accuracy and our arts and crafts skills.

Friday’s double of Maths started as usual, before Mr Walsh began giving us pieces of string, blobs of clay and paper protractors. A surge of confusion spread throughout the class. But after minutes of speculating, Mr Walsh finally told us. We were making Clinometers!

So, like our class, if you are confused about what a clinometer is; it is something used to measure the height of an object using a fundamental branch of maths, trigonometry. A clinometer is used by looking, through a straight pipe (a straw in our case), at the very top of the object you want to measure. Then, the string (weighed down by the clay) will begin swinging and stop at a certain point on the protractor. You have to make sure that the string stops at exactly 45° for mathematical convenience. To find the height, you then have to measure how far you are standing from the base of the object and use trigonometry to determine the height.

After following the instructions and making clinometers that could only be described as monstrosities, we proceeded to go outside and go crazy measuring everything possible. One group even measured the tallest tree in Mannix (it took them a little while).

Overall, the task was beneficial towards our learning. It was a fun and engaging activity that allowed us to apply our mathematical knowledge in the real world.

– Thenuka Perera, 9B