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Topic: Please recommend geometry software
Replies: 6   Last Post: Apr 3, 1995 1:07 PM

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Art Mabbott

Posts: 142
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Please recommend geometry software
Posted: Mar 16, 1995 3:35 PM
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Linda:
You wanted opinions and recommendations and so you shall get it.
If I had all the money in the world and could get whatever I
wanted, then I would get just what we have.

Recommendation #1: THE TEXT. As an oldtimer in this profession who
actually met Mary Dolciani when I started and have experienced many
different and interesting text approaches, I cannot more strongly
recommend Michael Serra's Discovering Geometry - An Inductive Approach.
It is an incredible text. In my opinion, it is the best thing since
sliced bread. The students are more involved in their own learning. I
believe that geometry should experiential and the Serra's book does just
that - lots on hands on activites and investigations. There are no
definitions or theorems hand fed to the kids. They have to work them out
for themselves. And they do through the investigations. I would hate to
have to go back to any of the other text I've used in the past. In our
district THEY say we don't track kids but we offer three levels and this
text works very well for all three. Any questions???

Recommendation #2. Dynamic software. Again the choice is simple. We have
Geometer's Sketchpad on our macs in a schoolwide lab. It is great!!
Whether they are investigating the properties of quadrilaterals or playing
with circles, this piece of software is great. In one of my early trips
into the lab with an average geom. class (whatever that means), I was
checking for understanding by asking my kids to tell me if (among other
things) diameters could be chords and chords diameters and if diameters
could be radii and I had one of my least motivated kids answer yes to all
of the above and construct two circles the radius of the first being the
diameter of the others. When he demonstrated that to the other kids, the
"bright" ones complained that I hadn't told them they could use two
circles to which the kid responded that I hadn't said they couldn't. He
was the star for the first time. On the next trip into the lab, I over
him reaching over the a neighbors computers and saying: "No, NO, you do it
this way." I think that I had him hooked - not for the rest of the year
but for a while.... GSP is supposed to be coming out with a new version
(3.0) this spring and I have no idea what bells and whistles it will
contain...

Recommendation #3. The Dynamic software that makes the connection to
algebra...You were smart to order a copy of Cabri II. What it can do with
conics and the like is beautiful. You can create the locus of points that
fit their definition and then put on a traditional axis and see the
equation or create a new set of axis (say using the directrix and axis of
symmetry and see why shifting a conic back to the origin might give you an
easier equation to start with. It is a nice alternative piece of
software. If you can afford two, get both. If not, either are miles
ahead of any of the others. I'm not sure which we would buy for our lab
today they both have enough different features that it would be a tough
choice.

Is that enough opinion or do you want more?

Art Mabbott
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