Maths Scholarships Resources Webinars 2 - Bringing Geometry Alive - By Amy Crowder
As I sat waiting for the webinar on “Making Geometry Come Alive” to begin, I was apprehensive. Not because I was still in my pyjamas, taking full advantage of the no-webcam rule, or because the only circular object I’d found to draw around was a Mario Kart steering wheel but I was nervous because geometry scares me. It was definitely the area of maths which I struggled with the most at school and then even at university so the idea of teaching it makes me feel a bit like a fraud. How can I encourage passion for something that I myself find tedious; am I capable of making geometry come alive?
Two hours, and multiple paper folds, later my ideology had completely changed and suddenly I understood geometry for all its wonder and beauty. Alison Kiddle has shown me that geometry is not simply a catalogue of formulae to learn and recite but a subject of discovery into the rules that govern our world. In a fantastic webinar that encompassed not just the need for improving the way that geometry is taught in our schools but also the resources to be able to do it: we were able to make our own protractors; create tools to help us prove the building blocks for circle theorems and discover the relational properties of A-series paper, which shares links to using Pythagoras’s theorem on a square… All from the comfort of our own homes!
What I found more valuable than the ideas of what to teach, however, were the strategies of how to teach geometry to build an atmosphere of curiosity and discovery into our classrooms. With the nature of geometry often being very visual, Alison suggested that we collect pictures of where we see geometric structures and patterns to share with our classes and pose “What do you notice? What do you wonder?” to them. This is something that I will definitely be introducing into my own practice and reflecting back on the past year, there have been so many opportunities to get my students to think in this open-ended way and start to develop their thoughts like mathematicians. My only concern with teaching geometry in such a hands on, visual way would be how accessible it is for students with visual or physical disabilities. I am looking forward to working with the SEN department in my school to find ways to adapt some of the activities to ensure they are as inclusive as possible.
Overall, I thought that this was an incredible seminar that has sparked an excitement in me to get back to school and teach some geometry, a statement I hadn’t been able to envision myself saying before, and if the comments during the webinar were anything to go by I know I wasn’t the only one who found it so fantastic.
By Amy Crowder