Calculating the radius of the Earth
Science students often have difficulty thinking about large spatial scales. The purpose of the exercise is to redo Eratosthenes' calculation of the radius of the Earth using data from to sites in ancient Egypt. The excercise teaches about the methodology of science - how Eratothenes figured it out - rather than worried about what the "right" answer is. It can also be used to discuss the role of models in geological thinking.
Methods of GeoscienceThis activity concentrates on spatial thinking, the role of models, and separating observation from interpretation.
Context for Use
before they embark on the exercise.
- Fractions; and
Description and Teaching Materials
- Homework for calculating Radius of the Earth (Microsoft Word 85kB May11 12)