Saturday, May 16, 2015

Interesting Tool



I've been looking at  a series of videos on https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/tag/zometool/  recently where Mike uses zoomtools with his sons. In  several there are a really fun stab at the golden ratio via pentagons and pentagrams. This is a topic I've mulled over doing before but the need to solve a quadratic to derive the golden ratio i.e. x^2 - x - 1 = 0 has stopped me for now.  I also like the ones where they work at deriving the volume of pyramid is 1/3 of a cube.

I'm starting to think this might be fun for us as well next year. So I've tooling around the company's site looking at the suggested lessons as well: http://www.zometool.com/content/ZGB-TOC.pdf 
I have a mail out asking about how many kits I'd need to support say 15 kids at once. But assuming I don't need to buy their 1500 workshop kit I'm very tempted. ($40 per kid doesn't go very far) Geometry is continually short shrifted in the regular curriculum and this has the bonus of being tactile. I'm imagining we could thread some of the suggested lessons throughout the year which would give me a whole new class of activities.

Prior to seeing these demos I'd been thinking about more formally organizing geometry next year anyway. At this point I have seen/worked over a large number of proofs and I think I could start to build up some more logical sequences of activities that would build on each other if I look over the whole set. A series of progressively more complex angle related proofs for example.  In the meantime I have my own retrospective on geometry problems (I've done many more than the kids in an attempt to try out and winnow down the best candidates) which I'm drafting and hopefully will post in parts soon. With only 3 sessions (!) lefts of math club for the year I'll have more time this summer for this type of planning if I'm ambitious.

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