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Topic: RE: Geometry Textbook for weak students
Replies: 3   Last Post: Jan 12, 2009 12:17 PM

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Deborah Fogerty

Posts: 11
Registered: 7/23/07
Re: RE: Geometry Textbook for weak students
Posted: Jan 12, 2009 12:17 PM
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I taught math for a good number of years, and always taught Geometry. As others have said, in high school (in the 60's)it was my favorite course.

If your students are weak, you might consider not removing "proof" from the course, but making it a game, and integrating it in small ways in everything you do. You say "If I tell you this is true, can you convince me that ___________ is true?" Informal, not necessarily lined up in columns.

Disclaimer: I taught in an independent school, very selective, very bright motivated students. We continued to use an OLD book: A Course in Geometry by Weeks and Adkins (or Adkins and Weeks...?). Original copyright date 1961. Originally it was published by Ginn, but the rights were bought by a small house, Bates Publishing in Concord, MA. They are always at the big math conferences. It's structure parallels (!!) Euclid's development, and it includes NO pictures at all (thereby solving the issue of excluding some groups). One skill that our students learned was translating from words into diagrams, quite useful in a Precalculus or Calculus course. However, we supplemented with more current material not included in that generation text.

Resources: since you are in Oakland, and therefore close to Key Curriculum, see if you can get a copy of Michael Serra's text Discovering Geometry. This is the text my school uses with a small group of weak math students. It is large, glossy, with lots of color pictures, but there is a lot of informal "proof" material (logic, puzzles etc.). It does a lot with art, like symmetry. With its additional topics, it may reach and interest your students. You may well know this book. Key Curriculum also publishes (I hope they still do) a book that described a teacher whose method was to have his class write their own text each year - literally doing what Euclid did. Starting from just a few relationships, they developed everything from a standard high school geometry course. He didn't have a text for the class, but did have resource books. I don't remember the title.

If your students ultimately reach college they will be prepared to do more math, even if their Geometry class is informal. If they don't go on to college and more math, they may realize that Geometry surrounds their lives and take away some appreciation for the world around them.

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