## [Help Wanted] Draw A Rectangle

Would you do me and a few Canadian math teachers a favor?

Go to this link and create a rectangle. Press "Share." Just do it once. Pass the link to your students if you'd like extra credit. I'll tell you what this is all about in a couple of days.

Thanks.

2012 Oct 25. The purpose and the results.

### 28 Responses to “[Help Wanted] Draw A Rectangle”

1. on 22 Oct 2012 at 1:27 pmTimon Piccini

I can’t wait to find out the results! You definitely win based on my class today!

2. on 22 Oct 2012 at 1:29 pmAlex

Can we guess?

Because I reckon I know what you’re after, and I know you generally encourage people to put their cards on the tabe & get invested in a question.

But there’s always the chance that discussing your purpose would influence the rectangles people draw, so… yeah, I’m asking for permission first.

3. on 22 Oct 2012 at 2:25 pmSam

we had some students doing a very similiar experiment. i wonder if you are trying to achieve a similiar result. i will also wait until permission to guess what it is your looking for

4. on 22 Oct 2012 at 3:06 pmDan Meyer

Hey, you’re welcome to guess. Doesn’t mean I’m gonna confirm anything, though.

5. on 22 Oct 2012 at 3:26 pmeddi vulic

I did this with my students this morning; I can send you the results if you want. They were, for me, unsurprising; but the set-up (“This is what I did with other math teachers this weekend!”) was worth it. My students are still in suspense.

6. on 22 Oct 2012 at 5:30 pmRocky

My guess is…

You’re trying to figure out the goldilocks rectangle, not too wide, but not too squareish, in an effort to discover something phi-nominal. Phi-l free to delete this if you think it will skew the results… If its not what your going for, i’d like to borrow your data cause i thought of a similar experiment a few days ago but didn’t know how to pull it off.

7. on 22 Oct 2012 at 7:42 pmDan Meyer

@eddi, did you measure everything by hand?

8. on 23 Oct 2012 at 5:26 amArnon Avitzur

How come one can only draw rectangles that are aligend with the screen ? Why can’t you do a rectangle which is at a different orientation?

9. on 23 Oct 2012 at 5:34 ameddi vulic

I had kids draw, then measure (in cm) then calculate the ratios. It only took about 5 minutes total for each class.

10. on 23 Oct 2012 at 5:35 amVocabularySpellingCity Mayor

Hi,
I did it. But, I would like to point out that I just clicked on a suspicious link which is something that I spend a lot of time teaching students NOT to do.

It’s only because I’ve read you for awhile that I did it. Please be sure to include some education, at the reveal, about the risks inherent in clicking on unidentifiable content.

11. on 23 Oct 2012 at 5:51 amDavid Patterson

I resisted the urge to try and skew the results by making a really ‘skinny’ rectangle off to one side. :)

Another interesting experiment would be to get people to draw a right triangle.

I posit that a majority would be similar to this:

|\
L_\

with the longer leg on the bottom. (I hope the spacing in this post is preserved.)

12. on 23 Oct 2012 at 5:54 amJered

Since you didn’t prohibit guesses, I guess this is an attempt to show that the average dimensions of what people consider a rectangle will show to be extremely close to a 1.618:1 (golden) ratio.

13. on 23 Oct 2012 at 6:49 amDave Major

Arnon: I considered making it like that, but the user experience took a dive when I tried it.

14. on 23 Oct 2012 at 7:04 amArnon Avitzur

Dave:
No complaints on my end :)
It really is only relevant based on question you (as a teacher/researcher) are trying to answer.
For example – if you wanted to know what is the typical (or prototypical) rectangle, then by limiting the drawing to only “screen-aligend” lines, you are missing an opportunity to see if students consider other orientations as rectangular (which is actually a known problem that students do not identify rectangles of that kind).

But, as I said – I don’t know what they goal of this was, so maybe the design is suitable.

15. on 23 Oct 2012 at 7:09 amDave Major

Knowing the question behind this, it would of been an interesting extra dimension.

16. on 23 Oct 2012 at 7:39 amJocelyn Dagenais

I would like to know what’s the programming behind these activities that Dave Major created.

Thank you !

17. on 23 Oct 2012 at 9:20 amDave Major

Jocelyn, it’s Javascript built off a Ruby on Rails backend. The graphics are mostly Raphael.js. Drop me a line if you want any more info.

18. on 23 Oct 2012 at 12:12 pmAmir

I wonder how many people draw a square, just to be different?

19. on 23 Oct 2012 at 12:21 pmDave Major

Currently just 9 ;-)

20. on 23 Oct 2012 at 3:22 pmGinger

I’m getting an error message that starts like this:

Errno::ENOENT in Rects#index

Showing /var/www/railsapps/rectangle/app/views/layouts/application.html.erb where line #5 raised:
No such file or directory – /var/www/railsapps/rectangle/tmp/cache/assets/sprockets%2Fd585a06e2ee6203ccb04c8b84150d14d20121023-32745-ewt05k.lock

21. on 23 Oct 2012 at 6:01 pmCarol

I got an error message also.

22. on 23 Oct 2012 at 6:36 pmTelannia

I am getting an error message to and I tried two different browsers.

23. on 24 Oct 2012 at 6:42 amJason Dyer

I wonder how many people draw a square, just to be different?

I’m wondering how much the interface affects answers. I clicked twice intending to get something more rectangular but eyeballed wrong so it ended up square-ish, and rather than bothering with changing around my answer I just hit send.

Fun to note: there are places in the world that still follow original Euclid so that a square is not a type of rectangle. Would people from those locations shy away from the square-like rectangles more?

Bizarre to note: In Wales “squares” and “diamonds” (tilted squares, not rhombuses) are two different things.

24. on 24 Oct 2012 at 7:04 amAmir

“Bizarre to note: In Wales “squares” and “diamonds” (tilted squares, not rhombuses) are two different things.”

Reminds me of when I talk to students about oblongs. ‘That’s a rectangle’, they cry. ‘Actually it’s a rectangle that’s not square’, I respond. Much puzzlement ensues!

25. on 24 Oct 2012 at 8:35 ama different Dave

I predict that the shape of the rectangles is going to be very heavily influenced by the shape of the canvas provided.

26. on 24 Oct 2012 at 7:54 pmAndrew Stadel

That was the easiest thing I did all day!

27. [...] a different dave wrote: I predict that the shape of the rectangles is going to be very heavily influenced by the shape of the canvas provided. [...]

28. on 06 Nov 2012 at 7:15 amTrying Again – QC Voices

[...] was checking out Dan Meyer’s blog (again) and he had conducted an experiment with other Lovers Of Math, where he asked any person to make and submit a rectangle on the web. [...]