
Rhoad Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge
Posted:
Apr 4, 1995 2:13 PM


Wow, is this interesting. As I have been following this forum, I have noted many times the cogent remarks of Michael Keyton, about many things, and have learned quite a few things from them. And now the following comes to my computer. It is a blatant attack on a book that I hold in high regard, from a person I have come to respect. I must respond. I have been teaching geometry at Evanston High School ( New Trier's rival school) for 25 years or so, with what I consider to be considerable success. At least , by any measures I can find, things have been going rather well. For the last twelve or so, I have been using "by far one of the worst ever presented on American education" That is " Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge" by Rhoad, Milauskas and Whipple , three actual high school teachers. . The only problem is that my students are more successful than ever. And they really enjoy the course, and they do well, in the course, in later courses, at the university ,and even at the schools and universities where they teach mathematics. In fact, I cannot think of a text that works better for helping my students learn geometry than the rhaod text. Granted the axiomatics are not exactly in line with Hilbert, but many of my students are not in line with Hilbert yet either. The axiomatics will come in group theory , for those for whom it will be important. In the mean time, they are learning to be wonderful problem solvers, and are having a great time doing it. They even discover theorems from time to time, because the problems look ahead towards what is coming. I do not think this forum is the appropriate place for evaluation of textbooks, but I find it fascinating that there is such a disparity of opinion here. I suppose I should admit that Tom McDougal, the originator of this discussion, is a former student of mine, but that would never stop me from disagreeing with him if I thought is were the right thing to do. Perhaps evaluating textbooks is a difficult task. I am perplexed by this. I promise you, my students are very successful geometry students and it is largely because of this book. In fact , I learned many things about teaching and learning from using this book and watching stuetns become independent learners and expert problem solvers. Perhaps it is the pedagogy that makes it work, and not the math. I guess I also think you should look harder at the problems in the book if you really think they can be found elsewhere. If they can, I haven't found the place. They are well thought out, well organized, and creative. What other geometry book has a bunch of probability problems? To be sure, there is a lack of applications, and it is not particularly calculator active, but the problems are supurb. Anyway, I just thought I would put my two cents into the discussion.
John Benson Evanston Township High School Evanston Illinois Math is the Second Most Exciting Thing

