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Topic: Do we need a full year of Geometry?
Replies: 29   Last Post: Nov 21, 1997 11:13 AM

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Vince Devlin

Posts: 10
Registered: 12/6/04
Why algebra **VS** geometry?
Posted: Apr 14, 1995 6:51 PM
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I have been reading the recent discussions concerning "algebra vs
geometry" with great interest. However, contained within these
discussions, I have sensed some other conflicts:
- high school math education vs college math education
- isolated math courses vs an integrated math curriculum
- subject-based curriculum vs an integrated school curriculum
Each of these controversies is an issue in itself, but using them as an
overview of the concerns of ³isolation vs integration² in education, we
can attempt to focus on the primary issue of algebra vs geometry.

By looking at algebra and geometry as separate fields of study, do we
create the same situation as considering math and science as distinct
disciplines? The division that we imply within these two intertwined
areas of mathematics tends to reinforce the artificial barrier that has
existed between algebra and geometry for many years. A typical high
school mathematics student studies Algebra I, Geometry, and then Algebra
II. They realize that some topics are "algebra-focused" while others are
"geometry-focused". This "shifting" encourages them to identify with one
subject vs the other and to formulate opinions such as ³I like geometry
better than algebra² or ³I like algebra better than geometry². What does
this type of isolation do for the study of mathematics?

Rather than wresting with questions such as:
- How many years of geometry should we teach?
- Should geometry be a full year course?
- etc.
should we be looking at issues such as:
- Is this isolation beneficial or harmful, both mathematically and attitudinal
- Should a high school student ³put aside² their algebra skills in order
to study geometry?
- Is this isolation being caused by the names of the courses themselves
(geometry, algebra)?
- Should algebra and geometry be ³blended² into more of a continuum of study?

As a high school teacher, I listen to students compare algebra to
geometry. Many like one better than the other. Although we may not see
this distinction in the subjects, if they do, then it¹s real!

Do you feel that there is a need for:
- an integration of algebra and geometry into a single continuum?
- maintaining the study of algebra and geometry as separate courses?

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