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How to ruin a kid’s holiday: Decorate the tree mathematically!


Think the holidays are a time to put learning on hold? Think again, lovers of the phrase “teachable moments,” and make sure the kiddies don’t lose their mathematical edge this break with some Treegonometry direct from the great minds at the University of Sheffield, who developed the formulas for the perfectly decorated Christmas tree.


If just looking at that list jumpstarts a fit of hyperventilation, Ian Chant at Geekosystem breaks it down into word problems (which are soooo much less intimidating, we know):

– To determine the number of ornaments appropriate for your tree, take the square root of 17, divide by 20, and multiply by the height of the tree in centimeters.

– The length of the tinsel in centimeters should be 13, multiplied by pi, divided by 8, and multiplied by the height of the tree in centimeters

– For lights, multiply height of the tree (cm again) by pi to determine how many centimeters of lights you will need

– And the height of the angel should be the rather simple height of the tree in centimeters divided by 10

Now, grab a glass (jug) of eggnog and get to work! If that eggnog has a little extra somethin’-somethin’ in it, though, they do offer a calculator at the website.

Full story at University of Sheffield via Geekosystem.

Holiday math.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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