>What I would like to find out is: >1. Is the current geometry course in your district substantially the same >as what I was taught or has the content been watered down >with a deemphasis on proofs? >If proofs are being deemphasized, why is this being done?
>2. Does your district offer 8th graders a geometry course? >If so, what is the entry criteria? >What is the first grade at which a student can take a geometry course >with proofs?
Tom: the 2nd question first. In our district we offer 8th grade Algebra I and 9th grade geometry. I once taught, in another district, a successful 7th grade Algebra I course. It was suceessful only because I had a group of very highly motivated students. Most of them gave up thier lunch period to come to a help session I ran on a regular basis. The Math Coordinator tried to expand the course to 5 sections the next year. It was a disaster.
As to the first question, most of our department uses a tradional trext book with a strong emphasis on proofs. I am using Serra's Discovering Geometry which starts students off by writing paragraph proofs then leads into flowchart proofs, my favorite. Students are introduced to formal deductive reasoning at the end of the book and finish off with a rogorous look at formal proofs. I believe it is the superior approach. Students still do proofs, but after their are ready. When I was in high school, too long ago, we had a similar curriculum as you described. We also had a lot fewer students in our school that followed a Alg I-Geometry_AlgII sequence. I do not feel that many of today's students are ready for formal proofs by the 2nd chapter of their geometry book. I am a strong believer in the use of proofs but I feel students need to be better prepared first. There is a good article in the Jan 95 issue of the Mathematics Teacher on research about student's readiness for proofs: "Geometry and Proof" by Micahel Battista and Douglas Clemments
Michael P Goldsmith Concord High School Concord, NH