Q&A #4551

Geometry for gifted 8th graders

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From: Pat Ballew (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Sep 02, 2000 at 00:09:10
Subject: Re: Geometry for gifted 8th graders

Two suggestions:
  The first is directed toward the fact that they are headed to geometry.
There are several excellent interactive geometry software programs around,
and your Honors Geometry may already have one.  I would check with that
teacher for a suggestion.  It may be that their site license will allow you
to load the software the students will be using in class next year on the
computer in your room.  If the honors class does not have software, you
might check the free download demo of Geometers Sketchpad, or look into a
one machine purchase.  You can find out more at the Key Curriculum web


The software has lots of self-directed explorations that a student can
pursue, and there are lots of sites that have additional geometry exercises
related to the sketchpad.

My second suggestion is that these bright young people should not need you
to find resources for them on the net.  If you have an Internet connection,
direct them to the Math Forum's home page and introduce them to the search
engine.  Let them learn from exploring.  The wonderful thing about bright
motivated kids is that they often learn more independently than we would ask
of them in a classroom setting.

I would also hope they will be looking for challenging problems, and a
search should quickly lead them to problem sites related to the American
Mathematics Competitions, Mathcounts, etc.

Don't give up completely on print text, bright kids should read books which
summarize and generalize math.  I would love to have such kids exposed to
Asimov on Algebra, ALL of Martin Gardner's books of math recreations;
Lancelot Hogbin's Mathematics for the Million is a classic that will
always be good reading for middle schoolers (and up), and to remind them
that not all the great mathematicians are dead, check on finding the
MAA's "People of Mathematics" about (then) living mathematicians, many of
whom are still alive today.

Hope some of this helps.

 -Pat Ballew, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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