The National Mall, other public spaces and cultural landscapes are brimming with mathematical questions and observations, because of their sheer diversity. Monuments, memorials, sculpture, architectural gems, attractions, gardens, pools, and roadways dot the landscape, affording a unique and robust mathematical experience. The following are just a few examples of the types of mathematical questions that can be posed about the sitings on the National Mall.

Math Trail Examples in DC



Describe 2 types of symmetry on the exterior of the dome.

What measurements would you need to find the volume of the dome?

Extrapolating from what you see, how many pillars are around the circumference of the dome?


Mark di Suvero

Why are construction beams shaped like an I?

Estimate the acute angles in the sculpture and by how many degrees do they vary?

How are the empty spaces a key component of the sculpture itself?


Sol LeWitt

Create a table with numbers of blocks (N) per layer (L).

How many blocks are added to each layer?

Write a mathematical rule relating N to L.

Using the rule, compute the number of blocks in the lowest level.