Arc Length

The first time I tried this activity I used pressed flowers. Though beautiful, they were a little difficult to decipher. Fortunately, one advantage to working at an art school is that fake flowers are in ready supply. I set these on the table and asked students to pair up and choose a flower. They then worked together on the following problem:

Let’s think about the shape of a flower as forming the perimeter of a circle. If we assume that each petal is the same size, what is the arc length spanned by each petal? What is the radian measure of each petal? 



Obviously this is a puzzle for students already familiar with radians and arc length, but I think that flowers might also be useful as an introduction to these concepts. Plus, they make a great excuse to get outside and go for a walk. I’d love to hear from anyone who tries it out!