My 7-year-old is a big fan of trivia books, and she is apt to randomly bring up interesting facts that stick with her. Luckily, National Geographic feeds her taste for bizarre and random with a large variety of trivia books and “weird but true“ facts for kids. Just the other day she shared a couple of nifty little facts with me. For example, she told me that people are about one cm taller in the morning than we are in the evening, and that astronauts grow a whopping two inches taller while in space. An odd turn in the conversation led us to two hours of outside play in pursuit of the burning question, are people rectangles or squares?
You will need at least one willing child and a piece of chalk. Have your child lie down on the ground and stretch her arms wide to form a T. My daughter argued with me about whether her arms were truly perpendicular to her body (a nice long math vocabulary word) and giggled while I traced her outline.
She predicted with confidence that she her overall shape would be a rectangle after looking at her outline. We got out our measuring tape and checked the distance from head to heel as well as the distance from the tip of her fingers on the left side to the tip of her fingers on the right.
Surprise! She was 47″ across and 47″ down. In other words, a perfect square!
Of course, my 7-year-old couldn’t resist coloring her outline. She was determined to make her life-sized copy as realistic as possible. She enjoyed applying her knowledge of color theory to make a purple flower on a shirt by mixing pink and blue and adding some crushed pink chalk to give her cheeks a rosy blush. She was so happy with the results that she immediately asked for another outline.
It was a win. She not only rediscovered a joy of her chalk, but learned a new math trick too.
After discovering her new shape, my daughter eagerly shared more random body facts with me after consulting her favorite trivia books):
With a slew of winter holidays just around the corner, many of us start to feel rather round this time of year, but try this activity if you really want to know what shape you’re in.
Images courtesy of Natalie