
Re: Is Geometry the first Inspirational Math class?
Posted:
Jan 22, 2009 2:13 AM


Since computers (PC revolution, then FOSS), there's been new interest in spatial renderings of polyhedra, putting those on YouTube. Some geometry classes take this approach (see some of my earlier posts to this archive, just click on my name in the web interface @ Math Forum).
Also you may remember the explosion of interest around fractals. Again, that's a topic, along with cellular automata, that sometimes works its way into a precollege project, even if only in an extracurricula context. Some curricula are doing more to build those in, noticing student interest, plus the complex plane is a precollege topic, at least in IB.
Book publishers have a hard time keeping up with these practices, as theirs is a readonly medium, not interactive, and not programmable. As a former contributing editor for McGrawHill (publishers of BYTE), I could see the writing on the wall back in the 1980s: there'd be a fork in the road, with some schools taking a more "place based" approach and producing most of their own materials, value adding to downloaded booty.
This has come to pass, especially with the emergence of of legally free software (FOSS) though again, we're talking two cultures here, with "left behinders" sticking with calculators and text books.
Those crossing to our brave new world get more involved with ray tracers, game engines, other tools amenable to formalized treatments, in terms of vectors, Euler's Law for Polyhedra, Descarte's Deficit, symmetry groups, spin axes, spacefilling etc. I call this "Beyond Flatland" as we're not confined to the plane, even as we use Euclid's proof methods (his constructions weren't always flat either, plus "left behind" texts bleep over Euclid's Method for the GCD  gotta have that). This is still "schoolish math" in other words, with plenty of theorem proving. Lots of figurate and polyhedral number sequences, maybe you've seen...
Kirby

