Sunday, September 23, 2012

Geometry Lessons

We've been working on geometry, using String, Straightedge, and Shadow. I have to say that after hearing how wonderful this book is, I was really disappointed that there was so much evolution in the story. You would think I would be prepared for that sort of thing by now, but really . . . it's geometry! What's the point? Anyway, it makes for some very useful discussion on how our worldview colors everything. We talked about how God made Adam perfectly intelligent, not some pseudo-human ape-man that can't figure out basic principles of how the world works. We talked about how Adam was a farmer, how his near descendants made musical instruments and forged tools of bronze and iron, and how huge amounts of information were probably lost in the flood and after the dispersion from Babel and had to be rediscovered. But after muddling through some of the fiction-presented-as-fact in the first chapters, we got to the actual geometry.
While the kids listened to me read, they colored geometric designs. Mindware has some free samples of their coloring books that are perfect for this.
I divided the book into twelve lessons.
Lesson 1
Read p. 6-27.  Point out the places mentioned on a map.
Our first activity was to find shapes out in nature and draw the object and the shape: the circle of a dandelion, the triangle of clover leaves, the star of a rose's sepals. There was much to find and Zahana and Rohan did as well as Miah and Larkin.

We also looked around the house for shapes in man-made objects.  After practicing some geometric designs, such as spiral, wave, square, circle, cross-hatches, zig-zags, and triangles, and looking at pictures of Native American geometric designs, each of the kids drew a picture of patterns and geometric designs.

Lesson 2 involved the sun and shadows.  We've had lots of overcast days and haven't had a chance to do the projects I planned, so I'll share lesson 2 another day.

Lesson 3
Read p. 36-46.  Locate places discussed on a map.

Look at aerial pictures of fields and farmland on internet.  Notice right angles.
Look at right angles around the house, outside – poles, trees, houses, etc.

I gave the kids a board, hammer, nails, string, and marker, and told them to construct a right angle and then a square.  I made sure the board didn't have any right angles on it.  Going by the info we read in the book, the kids were able to figure out how to do this.  In retrospect, I should have given them something more forgiving to work with, like clay to poke their nails into.

After making the triangle, we checked their work with a protractor.

Perfect!  This activity helps them to remember the 3-4-5 right triangle.

Next, the kids made a plumb line and level.  I told them they could use anything they wanted.  They used mini popsicle sticks, which made for very small instruments, but it worked!

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