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Geometry
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Geometry
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Modeling and Applications
In this category, each problem includes a real-life application of one or more geometric concepts, or requires students to use a model that they draw, build, or visualize. While many of the Geometry Problems of the Week use the "real world" as a setting, these problems are the most like "real" real-life scenarios. Almost all of these problems are listed in other categories.

Related Resources
Interactive resources from our Math Tools project:
   Geometry: Modeling and Applications
The closest match in our Ask Dr. Math archives:
   High School: Practical Geometry
   High School: Polyhedra
NCTM Standards:
   Geometry Standard for Grades 9-12


Access to these problems requires a Membership.

As Far as the Eye Can See - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. If I'm 5'10" tall, can I see the entire length of Lake Memphramagog, which is about 23 miles long? ... more>>

Assessing Seismic Risk - Craig Foster and Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Figure out how likely it would be for an earthquake to occur within certain distances of a building. ... more>>

Boxing Up Harry's Broom - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 1. Help Harry find the right size box for his broom. ... more>>

Broken Pottery - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Explain how to find the center of this sherd. ... more>>

Building a Rain Gauge - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Given the depth of the water in a bottle, figure out how much rain really fell, considering that the opening of the bottle is much smaller than the main part. ... more>>

Building Bookshelves - Steve Weimar
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Merriem and Emmanuel's new bookshelf hits the ceiling when they try to put it in place. Explain why, and help them figure out how much to cut off the bottom so that it will fit. ... more>>

Build Your Own Hexagon - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Put a square on each edge of an equilateral triangle (edgelength one unit) and connect the outside vertices of adjacent squares to form a hexagon. Is this hexagon equilateral? equiangular? What is its area? ... more>>

Buying Paint and Shingles - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Figure out how many gallons of paint and how many bundles of shingles I need to buy to finish my new shed. ... more>>

Calculating String Length - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Given the archery targets of two competitors, figure out which one has the shortest 'string length'. ... more>>

Constructing a Window - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. Explain the shapes of the other four sides of a regular hexagonal window that's built between two wall studs 22.5" apart. ... more>>

Dendrochronology - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Figure out about how old a large yellow birch is, given its diameter. ... more>>

Different Views - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Given a front, top, and side view of an object, find the volume of that object. ... more>>

Field of View - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Figure out the field of view for two different pairs of binoculars. ... more>>

Folding a Piece of Paper in Thirds - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Show that the given folds mark a piece of paper exactly in thirds. ... more>>

Folding Postage Stamps - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Fold a block of eight postage stamps, as indicated, along the perforations and without tearing, so as to form a single pile with the stamps numbered consecutively from top to bottom. ... more>>

Going Global - Annie Fetter & NCTM's WLME
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Look at Shakespeare's Globe Theater from a mathematical standpoint - figure out the interior angle of an icosagon and calculate how many people could stand in the "field" in front of and around the stage. ... more>>

Is the Fair Fair? - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Figure out the probability of winning at this popular midway game. ... more>>

Learning About GPS - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. What percentage of the surface of the earth can be seen by a satellite orbiting at an altitude of 20,200 km? Are the Global Positioning System satellites "geosynchronous"? ... more>>

The Length of a Belt - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. The diameters of two wheels are 18 cm and 12 cm and their centers are 30 cm apart. A belt goes around them and crosses 18 cm from the center of the big wheel. How long is the belt? How do you know you're right? ... more>>

Lost at Sea? - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Help Darius and Skip figure out whether they're in the United States or Canada using the bearings Skip takes. ... more>>

Lotsa Popcorn! - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 1. Can the World's Largest Popcorn Ball really be 50,000 times bigger than a normal one? Wow! ... more>>

Magic Coins - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. How come you can fit a quarter through a hole the size of a dime? Find a pair of coins in another system of money that could be used as "magic coins" - the "biggest" and "smallest" coins for which this would work. ... more>>

Make a Square! - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Make two cuts in the given figure and rearrange the pieces to make a square. ... more>>

Making a Map - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Given a list of relationships between five different objects, explain which ones you could uniquely place on a map. ... more>>

Making Pie Crust - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. How would you change the recipe for a 9-inch pie crust to make an 11-inch pie crust? ... more>>

Measuring the Circumference of the Earth - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. At our office on the autumnal equinox, the angle formed by the sun's rays and a stick is 40 degrees. If our office is 2749 miles from the equator, what's the circumference of the Earth? ... more>>

The Mobius Band - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Build a Mobius band and explain what happens when you cut it up. ... more>>

Mowing My Lawn - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. My lawn is 75 feet by 42 feet, my lawn mower cuts 18 inches at a time. I am mowing in a circular pattern, and have finished part of the lawn. That part took me 8 minutes. How much longer will I have to mow to finish the lawn? ... more>>

My Mom Rocks! - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Help my mom decide if she's buried the stones in her new garden deep enough. ... more>>

Nautical Navigation - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Help the sailors of the Kaleidoscope figure out what time they'll pass the lighthouse and how far from the lighthouse they'll be at that time. ... more>>

Nets of a Cube - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. When you fold up the given net of a cube, what shape is formed by the segments on the faces of the cube? ... more>>

Olympic Softball - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Should the pitcher's rubber in Olympic softball be behind the line drawn from third base to first base, or in front of it? ... more>>

Painting a Cube - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. A large cube, made up of smaller cubes, has some of its faces painted. When it's taken apart, 24 of the small cubes have no paint on them. How big was the large cube, and how many of its faces were painted? ... more>>

Patterning a Shotgun - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Construct a circular target with nine regions of equal area, with one a circle in the middle and spokes going out to the edge. If the whole circle is 6 feet in diameter, what will the diameter of the inner circle be? ... more>>

Pentomino Cubes - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Given the 12 pentominoes, explain which ones can't be used as the basis for the net of a cube. Then take three of the ones that will work and explain where you can attach the sixth square to make the full net. ... more>>

Picking Painted Cubes - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. A large cube, composed of smaller cubes, is painted on all sides. The edge length is five small cubes. It's then broken apart and the smaller cubes are put in a bag. What are the odds that a chosen cube is painted on three sides? two? one? none? ... more>>

Playing with Blocks - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. A large cube is made up of 13 double cubes like the smaller one shown, plus a single cube. What color is the single cube, and where does it have to be? ... more>>

Playing with Matchsticks - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Thirteen matchsticks are arranged to make six equal regions. Take away one of the matchsticks and arrange the remaining twelve so that they still make six equal regions. ... more>>

Playing with Paint - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Explain what three-dimensional solid would make a given "trail" if it were dipped in paint and rolled on the floor. ... more>>

Pondering Pantographs - Annie Fetter and Lillian Ray
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Why does a pantograph work? ... more>>

Replacing the Football Field - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Will a regulation-size NCAA soccer field fit inside an equal-quadrant 400-meter track? ... more>>

Running a Mile on a Metric Track - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. How far out from the rail on a 400 meter track would you have to run to cover 440 yards? ... more>>

Save the Lake! - Annie & Tom Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. How far does the water level drop if you take 900,000 gallons of water out of a lake with a surface area of 334 acres? ... more>>

Shotgun Targets - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Figure out how large to make the inner circle of this shotgun target. ... more>>

Sighting in a Rifle - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Analyze the given target of four shots, and tell me how far to move the scope on my rifle so that the group of shots will be centered around the bull's-eye. ... more>>

The Speed Skating Oval - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Find the radii of the turns of a 400 meter speed skating oval. ... more>>

Studying Stars - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Given a number of points spaced around a circle, how many lines does it take to connect each point to all the other points except for the ones next to it? ... more>>

Taking Pictures of the Earth - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. If you wanted to go out into space and take a picture of the earth, how far from the earth would you have to go to make sure that you got 1/4 of the equator in your picture? How about 1/3? ... more>>

Voulez Vous des Voussoirs? - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. Voussoirs are trapezoidal chunks of stone used to build stone arches. ... more>>

Waiting for Hot Water - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. If a water pipe is 1/2" in diameter, the faucet is about 35 feet from the hot water tank, and the faucet runs at 3 gallons per minute, how long will it take the hot water in the tank to reach the faucet? ... more>>

Well, Well, Well - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 1. Figure out the diameter of my cousin Frank's new well. ... more>>

Where's Juanita Walking? - Lillian Ray and Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 4. Help Juanita figure out how many possible ways she could walk to work. ... more>>

Who Wants to be an Archery Champion? - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 2. To determine the winner, calculate the "string length" for each of two archery rounds. ... more>>

Winning at Biathlon - Annie Fetter
Geometry, difficulty level 3. Figure out which of two fictional biathletes will win a race. ... more>>

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