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Topic: Serra's Discovering Geometry, Rhoad's Geometry for Enjoyment
Replies: 17   Last Post: Jul 10, 2013 10:45 AM

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John A Benson

Posts: 85
Registered: 12/3/04
Rhoad Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge
Posted: Apr 4, 1995 2:13 PM
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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

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