Final Reports - Noon Day Project March-April, 2007
Location: Al Ghazaly High School - Teaneck, NJ, USA
Posted: 08 Apr 2007 15:25
   Post subject: Noonday Final Report, Alghazalians       

To: Noonday Participants
From: the Alghazalians,
10th Grade Geometry Class at Alghazaly High, Teaneck, NJ
Measurement Day: Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Re: Noonday Project Debriefing
Date: April 8, 2007

Summary of Activities/Highlights:
5 groups of Ghazalians conducted the noonday experiment. We were challenged by our teacher to see which group could come up with the better design. The designs we came up with included gluing a meter stick to a wooden block, encasing the base of the meter stick in cement, and positioning the meter stick in a salt filled iced tea bottle. It was Arizona iced tea if you were wondering! One group also tried putting the meter stick between two bricks. The fifth group tried the simplest approach. That group, called the Cookie Monsters, taped the meter stick to a covered geometry book and used the book as a stand, much to the chagrin of our teacher! To further give the meter stick support, the Cookie Monsters inserted an empty paper towel tube between the pages. We know that one group will be paying major fines for that textbook at the end of the year!

In order to test out our designs before the vernal equinox week, we held a trial run. The day of our trial run on Friday, March 16th, the Northeast experienced its last snow storm of the season. Unfortunately, we were in school as the storm did not pick up until later in the day. We could not go outside to hold the trial run so we did it in our classroom. To create the meter stick's shadow, each group used a flashlight! We got to work out the bugs in each group’s procedure and to have some practice before March 20th. Not to mention we went home early that day!

March 20th was a sunny day and most of the snow in our school parking lot had been cleared so we went ahead with the project. We go to school in Teaneck, which is known for its trees, not Chicago which is known for its windiness. However, Tuesday, March 20th turned out to be the windiest day of the year. Every group’s apparatus was plagued by wind problems. The meter stick quaked in its iced tea bottle, it shook between the two bricks, and it imitated the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the cement! However, the glue gunned meter stick held up pretty well. No surprise the Cookie Monsters with their crude textbook/tube design had the least problems with the wind!

In the end, we averaged our sun angles which we found using trigonometry and scale drawings. Our class sun angle turned out to be 40.7˚. The class noticed that our angle was close to our latitude. This was pretty much the case for all the project participants. We partnered with Burgaw, North Carolina and got a measurement of 39, 511 km; which is off by 1.24%. When we tried a school in Georgia and even the Equator, we got larger errors but they were still under 10%. A school in South Dakota partnered with us and got an even better result than we did. We were very happy to see this as it looked like no one was going to pick our school!

In the execution of this project, we learned planning is very important to make things go well. We definitely learned that weather is an important design consideration when doing an outdoor experiment. It’s a good idea to have duct tape on hand if your meter stick cannot withstand the elements, LOL! Mathematically, using trigonometry is definitely faster than using a scale drawing to find an angle, but the results come out to be the same either way.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this project and Mr. Ihor Charischak who made it all possible. We highly recommend this project to future geometry students everywhere because it helped us to understand the similarity and trigonometry chapters in our text. Also, as you can tell we had a lot of fun   !

Note: if we can, we will post pictures later.