Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Challenging Math Class Project

Sam Smith, our volunteer extraordinaire (who has spent his mornings over the past eight years teaching advanced mathematics and assisting in our math classes), offered students an opportunity to work on a some amazing polyhedron building projects.

"These projects provide a change of pace for students," says Sam, "they offer a tactile, see it, feel it, experience of great mathematics. And they teach geometry in a way not usually taught in most schools."

Among the many students involved, Madeline and Alex went to work cutting pieces and gluing parts together to create a rhombidodecadodecahedron and a compound of five tetrahedra respectively. Over a period of several weeks during a school term, the students demonstrated their skill (and patience) in creating their projects.

Sam Smith notes that "students don't just learn how the pieces fit together, they also learn constraints. There are lots of life lessons involved in this form of mathematics."

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