Sunday, December 16, 2012

Angles "In Real Life": Gym Edition

Want to hear something interesting?  At least twice a week someone arrives at my blog via one of these search terms:

"right angle in real life"
"acute angle in real life"
"vertex in real life"
"[geometric shape] in real life"

A couple more just came in as I was starting this post!  I'm never sure exactly what folks are looking for when they use those search terms, but I am always hopeful that once they get here they find what they're looking for.  I was thinking about all this when I was at the gym the other day and, as I walked around the track, I started noticing angles everywhere I looked.  I had my phone/music/camera with me as I walked so I started snapping some pictures.

As I looked closer I realized -- you can't have angles without lines.  Every time I found an angle I also found a beautiful interaction of two or more lines, with the added enhancement of a sunny day and its inverse, shadow.

The track is curved in places but the walls are straight.  This leads to some interesting intersections.  Here is an obtuse angle where two walls meet. There is also a lovely bisecting line that creates two acute angles where the straight boards meet to 'turn a corner' as it were:

All sorts of lines here!  Red lane markings run parallel to each other.  The metal what-ever-it-is runs perpendicular, creating right angles.  The wall comes into the floor at a right angle, and the light shining from the basketball court around the corner creates a lovely acute angle:

And the basketball court itself!  There are a lot of right angles here, and some lines that intersect but don't really make angles.  Why is that?

A rectangle must have right angles...

But its shadow doesn't!  Look at this lovely rhombular patch of sunlight!  Two acute and two obtuse angles of winter sun.

I didn't need a bench to sit on (my workout was basically shot at this point and my heart rate was still barely above resting) but if you do, hopefully you'll find a nice sturdy one made with right angles.

Looking out into the day, the window is divided by perpendicular lines which make right angles.  How many right angles can you find in this picture (both inside the gym and outside it)?

Behind the basketball hoop are the wires that help keep it suspended in air.  I see three intersecting lines that create an asterisk 6-star as well as six acute angles:

And more lovely shadow angles!  This is the big curtain that divides the two sides of the basketball court.  Look at the lovely obtuse angle the light creates!  

Outside the gym a plethora a lines and angles on the way to the parking lot.  

Sun and shadow get the final word. 


Malke Rosenfeld delights in creating rich environments in which children and their adults can explore, make, play, and talk math based on their own questions and inclinations. Her upcoming book, Math on the Move: Engaging Students in Whole Body Learning, will be published by Heinemann in Fall 2016.


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