Applying Math to Astronomy

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In this mathematics activity (page 4 of the PDF), learners will explore the relationship between the diameter and circumference of an object. They will see that no matter what the object, these proportions always differ by a factor of around 3.14, known as Pi. Although this activity was created as a previsit for a workshop about astronomy, it also makes an excellent stand alone activity!

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Several cylindrical objects (coffee cans, soda cans, jars, cups, etc)
  • Cloth measuring tapes with both English and metric measurements on them.
  • Calculators


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009