* Educate * Engage * Reform *  

academic excellence

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jim and all.
My concern is not necessarily with what they name the class (Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, etc.). My concern is with the contents of what is being taught in each class. A few years ago I tried to provide tutoring help over at Mayfield High. What I found out upon looking at the “geometry” book was that this class was not at all about classic geometry where kids learned how to do proofs. Instead it was a mishmash of using calculators to compute sines and cosines, compute lengths, etc., with a bare minimum of learning proofs.
Learning how to do proofs and understanding the structure of Euclidean geometry is not just an ancient art. Proofs are key to understanding how to do science itself. You need to start with what you are GIVEN, and then see how to use known rules of geometry to connect that information to the result that you’re seeking to FIND. Learning how to make those connections and how to understand and recall the known laws is key to understanding how we build up our understandings/capabilities in science.

And although geometry proofs are almost always set up as absolutely true, given their axioms, this is the first step to understanding how we work with scientific inferences to the best explanations, otherwise known as critical thinking. In many cases there is no PROOF, but there might be many clues that point to a better explanation than every other choice.

Unfortunately, they have turned geometry into a sort of plug-and-play game where all that is needed is the right equation and then relying on a Bill Gates product to give you the answer. That’s not how science works, and it’s certainly not the point of how geometry should be structured.
The same is true of algebra to some extent. One needs to understand how to manipulate the equations using the proper rules, though usually one is only dealing with a single equation at a time.


Weekly Action Alert