|Eratosthenes: How to Measure Something That is Too Big to Measure Directly|
In this activity, students measure the circumference of a wheel using four different methods. The first method is similar to the method used by the Greek philosopher, Eratosthenes, who made an excellent estimate of the circumference of the Earth around 330 B.C. by assuming that the Earth is a sphere and that the sun's rays are parallel when they reach the Earth. In a second method, students measure the diameter and calculate the circumference of the wheel. The other two involve direct measurement. A fifth activity requires the involvement of another school some distance away to use the Eratosthenes method to measure the Earth.
Intended for grade levels:
Type of resource:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
This activity is posted on a web site that is for public dissemination of tried and true labs used for teaching Earth Science.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-006-860
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Kurt Hollocher
Geology Department, Union College
Author: Lawrie Nickerson
Schenectady High School