I’m teaching geometry this year. It’s my first time since student teaching to do this, so I don’t have a whole lot of experience with it yet.
Proofs are introduced in geometry. There are two whole chapters on it in our book. It seems that, because of the way that standards are written, that they’re taught as a separate entity.
Yet I remember, from my childhood many years ago, that the most powerful part of geometry was that we spent the whole year building up proofs – often several every day, going from the very basic to the very complex.
My kids are scared of proofs. They’ve had some exposure, enough to confuse them, but not enough to enthrall them.
So I want to revisit the process of my own geometry learning – proofs intertwined throughout the whole year, but with my upgraded teaching sensibilities.
The plan: a geometry proof battledeck1. Really, just flash cards. But they’ll get out the cards, and pick out the ones that are possibly applicable to the givens of the theorem, and then select others that may get them closer to the proof. Not only will there be tactile interaction, but the focus will be on the arrangement of the steps of the proof, fitting together the logical progression, rather than trying to remember the myriad possible theorems they have to draw on. Best of all, once they derive the proof, they get the new theorem (with the proof written out on the back) to add as another weapon in their battledeck. At the end of the year, They’ll hopefully have their entire history of proofs in one fat deck.
I’ve got 3 dozen binder clips, 1000 blank white cards, and 28 young minds to shape.
1 My first thought was to pitch this as sort of a Magic, the Gathering thing. My kids have no idea what that is. They do get Pokemon & Yu-Gi-Oh!, though, and are down with the idea of having to pick out a series of cards to achieve a particular objective. However, I fear that if I push this metaphor, that they’ll have an expectation of head to head battles, and toss it out one that fails to materialize.