I am sure we have all seen photos like the one to the left. They have been made famous at locations like the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is called perspective photography and it makes an optical illusion where one does not exist. This little girl is not actually reaching to the top of the point, but it looks like she does because of her distance from the Tower. Using given information, is there a way for us to figure out just how tall the little girl is?

What if I were to tell you that the Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet from bottom to tip and that the little girl was standing 1/2 mile away. (2,640 ft) With this information, you would be able to give a fairly solid estimate about her height.

What if I also told you that the photographer was 8 feet away from the little girl and that the two triangles made by the photographer and the little girl and the girl and the Tower are similar right triangles. Would you be able to then find her exact height?

Eiffel Tower Image: https://digital-photography-school.com/forced-perspective/

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This is such a great way to combine art, photography and even geography with math concepts! An extension activity for this would be to have students create their own perspective photo.

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I love the extension activity idea! Especially now that so many of my students have smart phones, they would have the accessibility to create one with out a ton of extra materials. Great idea, thanks!

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Wow! What an awesome concept! This would have been such a fun project to do in geometry! It definitely accesses multiple types of aptitudes and allows for creativity in a subject that doesn’t always give that opportunity! I think the way you show the example calculation is important as well. Geometry is a little rusty for me! I would love to share this with my school’s geometry teachers!

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I was trying to think of a fun way to incorporate my love for math, in a real world concept, that included photography! I am a huge visual learner so I always encourage my students to draw out what they are thinking while they are working on any of their math problems. It is a strategy I didn’t really properly learn until my Problem Solving math class in college and it has changed the way I see math. Go right ahead and share with your school’s math team! I hope they enjoy it! Also, Kendal Cramer had a great idea for an extension so check out her comment as well.

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I’m also a visual learner, so unless there is something for me to look at (other than words), I really have a hard time understanding how to problem solve. Being able to draw things out is a skill I learned to do better on tests and labs, but I always model it for my classrooms to show how people might go about understanding something in a different way. Having whiteboards available for students in my room has helped that tremendously. Thanks again for sharing this idea!

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I am definitely not a math person, but I think I would have liked math more if my teachers had done things like this. What a great way to combine a current trend with math concepts. I feel like students would remember this lesson much better than if you had just given them a problem on the board to complete!

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I love trying to work fun new things into math! I feel like because math has been worked on for thousands of years, doesn’t mean the methods need to stay that old!

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I really like the applicable nature of this problem. Much more engaging than a 2-D triangle written in a very thick math book! Great idea – have you noticed more “excitement” in your students when you use such materials (as opposed to a classic math book or math packet)?

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I see much more excitement and participation when I use things like this instead of the “traditional” math methods. I try my best to correlate everything to real world situations. Some things are much harder to do but when I am able to show the kids when and how they will use what they are learning then it really does change their perspective.

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