March 07, 2013
Mrs. Hagenbarth's Accelerated Geometry class from Woodstock Union High School took to the woods this month to learn about how pi is a crucial number for forest management. Students met with Mike Scott, a consulting forester to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. They learned about how to calculate a tree's diameter, basal area, and board feet using tape measures, calculators, Biltmore sticks, and 10 BAF prisms (Want to know what a 10 BAF prism is? Just ask a student!) Students were surprised to see how math informs tool development so that foresters don't have to be very exact in their measurements, yet they know exactly how these tools are developed and what math is involved. In addition to the math skills, students also learned what factors need to be taken into account when making forest management decisions, such as tree density, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, recreation, and aesthetics. Pi Day (3.14) is a big day for the math department--keep your eyes peeled for some yummy pies next week!