Geometry Honors students apply what they learn through a series of hands-on activities throughout the year. “I’m always looking at new ways to engage students,” explained teacher Dino Doremus. “They are the ‘Why?’ generation–’Why do we have to learn this?’ Projects make it interesting and help students understand how the math they’re learning is useful.”
At the start of the school year, Doremus’ students were tasked with taking photos that depicted the main geometry postulates “in the wild” and building models with clay, wood sticks and cardboard. (A postulate is a statement assumed to be true without a proof; for example: a line contains at least two points.) A recent challenge was to design a four-hole mini golf course based on the concept of reflection.
Mini golf uses many geometric concepts and requires players to take as few putts as possible to sink the ball into a hole. Students were challenged to design four mini golf holes with two single-bank and two double-bank holes and provide a strategy sheet for achieving holes-in-one.
Students could earn extra credit for this lesson by creating 3-D models. Fiona T. took advantage of leftover Halloween candy to build a Candyland course. “I can apply Geometry to real life and it makes the lesson more interesting,” she noted.
Lily F. purchased letter blocks to spell out her interpretation of the lesson. She explained, “The blocks and sticks enabled me to visualize the reflections concepts more realistically.”
Max A. was hungry when he started his project, “so that is why I choose to make my 3-D mini golf course depicting food. However, it was actually easier for me to understand the assignment on graph paper compared to the 3-D approach.”
A recent vacation inspired the “Under the Sea” theme for Carly S.’ project. She found the 3-D approach useful for gaining insight into how reflection works. “I am a visual learner so this assignment made it easier for me to understand the lesson,” she said.