Virginia Museum

3 Act Math

Act 1

1. How many parking spots are there?
2. Write down a guess.

This image is from Daily Overview. Here’s the description from the site:

37.0709° N, 76.4784° W

Check out this mesmerizing drone shot of the The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia by Overview content creator Micah Marshall. The open-air museum houses many “living-exhibits” with more than 245 different species of plants and animals, most of which are native to the state of Virginia.

Act 2

3. What information would be useful to figure this out?
4. Write down some questions you have in your head right now.

The students need to figure out how long each arc is.


A screenshot from Act 1 will be helpful. It shows which rows have spots on both sides of the line. In addition, the kids will need to estimate how the sidewalk, trees, and other non-parking spots affect the total number of spaces.


Finally, the students need to know how wide each parking spot is.


Act 3

Common Core Standards
Derive using similarity the fact that the length of the arc intercepted by an angle is proportional to the radius, and define the radian measure of the angle as the constant of proportionality; derive the formula for the area of a sector.
apply the proportional relationship between the measure of an arc length of a circle and the circumference of the circle to solve problems


Daily Overview / Satellite imagery courtesy of Digital Globe / Benjamin Grant

2 thoughts on “Virginia Museum

  1. I feel like the measurements on this one were inaccurate to the google map. While the radii I got were similar (instead of 122/213/240, I got 123/*184*/245), the parking lot width was way too wide! Parking spots 11 feet wide could fit many cars sideways. When I used Google distance measure on a block of 11 spots, I got closer to 9.7 feet per spot, which is still pretty large.

    1. Hey Timothy,

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah you got me here. I used Google Maps to get some information for the radii, but I fudged the numbers to make sure the math worked out to the correct final answer. You can double check my math to make sure though…

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