Geome-Try a Little Harder

So there I was sitting out on my front porch yesterday evening reading Julia Diggins’ String, Straight-Edge, and Shadow: The Story of Geometry.  

3168qcU4PjL._SL500_AA300_It’s the main resource I’m using for my daughter’s fifth grade geometry block.  I’m reading about Pythagoras, and the story has taken me into his secret brotherhood, hoping to help me understand the enormity of the revelation of his famous theorem. (You know, the a squared + b squared = c squared thing.)

I read, “[Pythagoras] took pointer and string and straightedge, and began to lecture…’Here is the Egyptian triangle, the one used by the rope stretchers, where the sides of the right angle are 3 units and 4 units, and the hypotenuse is 5 units.’  He drew it on a sandy space, and then added a square on each side, and inner squares. (See illustration on page 101.)”

So, I look at the illustration on page 101 and hear the sound of the record scratching in my head.  Huh?!  I can NOT see what Diggins is talking about here.  I look more closely.  Nope! Still can’t see it.  I see SIX squares and TWENTY-FOUR triangles!  So I just read on, “There! You can see, by counting or by calculating the square units, that the total area of the squares on the two sides of the right angle is equal to the area of the square on the hypotenuse…”  *SIGH*  I don’t see it. And I thought I understood the Pythagorean Theorem!

I knew there would be a time when the things we had to study at home would be beyond my ken and require extra work and preparation on my part.  I just didn’t think it would happen during fifth grade geometry!  I have already decided to let this sleep in my brain for a few, and revisit it.  Here’s to hoping that the Waldorf philosophy of using sleep as a learning tool will help me out!

What have you encountered during homeschooling that has required extra time and effort for YOU to learn?

Thanks for visiting me today!

Mrs. Mallard

4 thoughts on “Geome-Try a Little Harder

  1. Lisa

    Hmmm, I think the fourth grade man and animal stuff just might put me over the edge right now. On the surface it seems pretty self-explanatory, but now that I’m finding so many authors and curriculum writers have so many different opinions about which animals exhibit which human traits, I’m thoroughly confused and just hope I figure it out before I have to teach it.

  2. sarah cook

    I never worked so hard in my entire education for a grade as I did in sophomore geometry. Without the help of my good friend Joe Bernal, it would have been hopeless. Good luck!

  3. JustToSay

    Hey Felicity! I responded on FB, but thanks again for taking the time to comment. I guess I know whom to call on if I can’t figure it out!
    Hi Lisa, I felt a bit muddled over the fourth grade man and animal material myself. I didn’t like that in the materials I used there were three animals to represent each part of man: cow, lion, and mouse; and yet there was an eagle suggested for the overarching thinking ability. There was a distinct instance in which I decided I was just going to present it how it made sense to me and let the cards fall as they may! Best wishes in your preparations and thanks for stopping by!
    Hi Sarah! Where was Joe when I needed him?! I also remember that class as the first time I didn’t get “math.” Thanks again for visiting!


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