Tag Archives: geometry

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