Farm Math

Who thought you would need school to be a farmer?

So, we had to use some real-time math on the farm this past weekend. Got the opportunity to show  my kids that what they learn in school does have real applications!

The task of making our newly created round pen round and figuring out how big it was took an extra long tape measure, some math formulas and a calculator. We wanted to make the largest pen we could with the panels we had available. In doing that, we needed to know what the size actually was (to see if it was large enough) and to determine how to ensure it was round.

Our math went a bit like this. We had eleven 12-foot panels. We also had two 8-foot gates. Therefore, the potential circumference was (12 x 11) + 8 + 8 = 148 foot. Now to figure out the diameter? We had to use the formula diameter x pie = circumference by taking 148 feet and dividing it by pie (3.14). That gave us a diameter of 47 feet. We felt pretty good about that was we wanted it to be larger than 40 (the minimum size to work an average horse) and as close to 60 feet (the ideal size) as possible.

The next task was how to determine if the round pen was actually round. It looked round, but upon measuring it from side to side, we found it wasn’t. Therefore, we picked a center and measured a radius of half of 47 feet (23.5 feet) around that spot. My daughter stood with the measuring tape while I moved around her in a circle adjusting the panels as needed.

So far, we are darned close (off a few inches in spots) but good enough in my book. The next step is getting the footing right… more to come on that later!

2 responses to “Farm Math

  1. Love the calculations! I’m not sure I could remember enough of my high school math to have figured it out. I look forward to seeing some pictures of the newly created round pen.

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