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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just How Long Is That Quarter Mile Track Anyway?

This morning I got up early and came to school to run around the track. (I know, right? Nobody was chasing me or anything.) And I know it's a quarter-mile track, but of course the inside lane is much shorter than the outside lane. So I started wondering, what is a quarter mile? The inside, the outside, somewhere in the middle? I'm getting this down now so I remember to revisit it in Geometry next year when we do all those composite perimeters and areas.

Here is our track from Google Earth:

I'll ask the kids to decide what to measure.

If you try to measure in miles, the diameters of the semicircular ends only differ by a hundredth of a mile. So I measured in feet for more precision.

I'd love to give the kids a printout and have them do the measuring, but measuring in centimeters or inches and scaling it up might be more trouble than its worth. Maybe if I find a few more interesting questions like this, we can have a computer day and they can use the GE measuring tools. Times like these I envy you 1:1 schools.

For the outside track, rounding to the nearest foot I get 1444 feet or 0.273 miles and for the inside track, I get 1320 feet which is exactly 0.25 miles. Can anyone verify that? Track stars?