Friday, January 20, 2012

Rain Day! And Proofs in Geometry

We have a day off today.  Oregon is flooding.  We would have much preferred the snow storm that was predicted but it is Oregon after all.  The funny thing is the rain doesn't seem to be coming down that hard, and if there's one thing us Oregonians should be used to by now it's the constant drizzle.  Here's the bridge in the town I teach (picture from the local newspaper: The Sheridan Sun)

I think the river has risen high enough that the water is already spilling over it's banks but I'm not sure.  It's only running a few feet below the bridge and as the weather prediction is more rain, water will over take the bridge.  Since I need this bridge to get to work, I'm probably not going to work for a while.  We'll see.

We were supposed to have a geometry test today over congruent triangles.  The first thing one of my students did when she learned of the school cancellation was to give me a call and bemoan the fact that she couldn't take her test because she was going to rock it.  Odd  but awesome phone call to receive.

This brings me to something I've been worrying about.  I decided to use Harold R. Jacob's Geometry: seeing, doing and understanding text book, but my school could only afford the 2nd edition.  I've been happily teaching out of it though because I love it.  Recently, to aid in test writing I got the 3rd edition to help me find test questions so that tests didn't take me a million years to write and much to my dismay I saw that he took a whole bunch of the proofs out of the 3rd edition.  He doesn't stress them nearly as heavily in this newer edition, while I, blindly, have been battering my students over the head with the rigorous proof based curriculum of the second edition.  I promised my students the proofs were important, engaging, that knowing how to do them would aid in understanding higher level math, and that learning to do proofs taught them much needed critical thinking skills.  Has all my pleading, wheedling and dragging all been in vain?  Do people not do proofs as much in geometry anymore?  When I was doing higher level math in college, it took me forever to catch on that if and only if statements had to be proved both ways because no one in high school ever mentioned conditional statements.  All of math is couched in the language of conditional statements and proofs.  Isn't it still important to teach this stuff?  But maybe the content of geometry itself is more important.  It is true that while trying to help my students truly understand proofs, our progress through the curriculum has slowed down.  But as a college prep school I don't know if I could live with myself if I didn't help students feel more prepared for college than I felt and I felt the lack of having done proofs keenly.

Well, I guess I'll use my day off to have all sorts of fun- like plan my next algebra 1 unit... Yay.

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