One of the great hopes of the Geometry Forum has been, and is, that
mathematicians at all levels will meet here and enrich each other's
work. In many ways the activity of the Forum has surpassed our
expectations in this respect. Until recently however, there has been little
help in one of the most recalcitrant areas of math reform, the
use of applications.
Johnny Hamilton brings a rare blend of experience. Many professionals
don't learn the math that would make their jobs easier. Few math teachers have much professional experience with the occupations that use a broad range of
the math they are teaching -- yet the use of applications is promoted
to math teachers as a way to engage the interest of students and to
make sure that the basic skills are taught for the positions we need
them to fill.
What can we do as teachers aside from arranging for guest speakers?
Math to Build On covers much of the basic math used in the
construction trades and gives us practice in its application. We offer a
few sections here so that other teachers can see some of the
possibilities for alternative introductions to these fundamental
concepts, and students can finally answer for themselves the question,
"When will I ever use this?"
Perhaps most important, the use of Hamilton's materials may make it
easier for many of us to do our homework.
We are working to offer resources through the Forum to connect math
classrooms with applications of mathematics. If you know of any person,
text, or organization that would aid in this goal, please drop us a note.
The Geometry Forum
We met Johnny Hamilton through his contributions to the Forum newsgroup
geometry.pre-college. When Art Mabbott posted a question about
bending conduit pipe, Johnny
answered. Then, having broken the ice, he introduced himself and initiated
a series of discussions
around questions about the utility of math and how to educate the
When we saw the books Johnny and Margaret Hamilton have written and
published, Pipe Fitter's Math Guide and Math to Build On, we
persuaded them to let us offer portions of the latter here on the Web. We
can't give you the whole book -- if you'd like to order it, write to Johnny Hamilton or consult the Construction Trades Press Web page for details -- but
we've tried to provide a good sample, including directions for functions
using a calculator, memory aids for fractions, decimals, and functions, and
simple constructions to make.
Editor & Web Site Archivist