Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happy Pi Approximation Day!

Today is July 22nd, or 22/7 in the international date format, and 22/7 is approximately equal to pi, a constant famous for its use in geometry. As such, today is Pi Approximation Day, one of two days of the year devoted to that number -- the other being 3/14, Pi Day. Today is therefore a perfect day to launch this blog, since it is all about geometry.

I am David Walker, an aspiring math teacher. A major challenge facing all of us math teachers is the transition to the Common Core State Standards -- especially in geometry, since they are so different from the way the subject is traditionally taught. When I was working on my preliminary credential, I showed a fellow geometry teacher a textbook that mentions reflections, translations, and rotations, and she was completely confused. So I can only imagine how much more the students will be confused by this new way of learning geometry if we teachers can't even figure it out!

That book was published by Scott, Foresman and designed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. It was not the textbook that I'd used to learn geometry, for I had moved to another district in time for Algebra II and saw the Geometry students carrying around this bright pink textbook. But our school discarded them in favor of texts more aligned with the California State Standards, and I ended up purchasing a copy at the used bookstore at the local library for $2. It is ironic, then, that this old U of Chicago text is actually better aligned with the Common Core Standards while the books in the classrooms are still set to the California State Standards.

Throughout this blog, I will present Common Core Geometry using my the U of Chicago text as a major guiding force. But it won't be my only guide. Along the way, I will mention a few other teachers and their own visions of what our subject will look like in the near future. I write this blog mainly to help myself know what to teach -- since when I'm in the classroom, I find that often I, even more than the students, am the one who needs guidance. If anyone else, be it a student or another teacher, gains a greater appreciation of Common Core Geometry by reading this blog, it'll be icing on the cake.

Welcome to Geometry, Common Core Style!

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