Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Bill, a parent:

I am trying to figure out the approx. perimeter of a 22 acre lake. Can I solve this by calculating the sq. ft. in 22 acres and then take the square foot to find out the sides of a 22 acre square and then add the sides together to get the perimeter?


Well that won't work very well. Consider a loop of string resting in the shape of a square and now tug on it to make it rest almost as a straight line; the perimeter of the enclosed area hasn't changed but the area has shrunk to almost 0.


This reasoning tells you that the perimeter of a 22 acre lake can be enormously large. You need more information to solve your problem.


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