How many times you have heard this ranted in your classroom:
“Geometry, geometry, another one of those math topics that has no point whatsoever! Why are these useless classes required when they will never apply to anything in our lives? Sure it is an easy enough class but is it not just a time waster, a space filler?”
To which you reply, “Wrong! Geometry indeed has a purpose.”
Geometry as a subject as a wide scope. Learning the names and dimensions of shapes prepares students for the real world, as well as more advanced mathematical concepts. Learning how three dimensional shapes and objects operate helps students understand how a football is thrown, how cars move and how buildings are put together!
Examples of the Importance of Geometry
Decorating and Remodeling
What are the specs of your living room space? Do you know whether an oversized sofa, a lamp, three large tables, and a dinette set will all fit in there? A home decorator never does any room planning until after they have whipped out their geometry knowledge, measured, and planned how the room will turn out and where they will place all the furniture for the best presentation and living arrangement. Did you remember to take the measurements of the door leading into the living area? That could be a major problem when moving in furniture. Length times width makes sense here, but you probably already knew that didn’t you?
Supporting beams are not just a cute term that construction workers use. Before construction opens up at a site, plans are drafted comprising shapes in a perspective space. Architects know that an improperly placed or non-existent supporting beam can bring any structure down to a pile of rubbish. Around one thick piece of wood, metal, or concrete, the design of a building is drafted and formed. An architect weak in geometry is no architect at all; instead his structure is a hazard to everyone’s health.
One side of the brain is preferred in people but a connection between the two is best for whole-brain thinking. When you think with your brain as one organ rather than pieces, geometry is at work. This is one of those subjects where all parts of the mind have a job. Thoughts on a larger plan are necessary in geometry class. Boxed thinking is considered null and void in geometry. This is why abstract thought is found in large portions of the subject. Don’t worry, teachers can develop and acquire strategies that will bring more concrete concepts to geometry for those who cannot get a grip on non-tangible concepts. Try reading more on logical thinking in geometry.
Teacher tip: As noted, students can have problems understanding geometry when it would seem that it would be an easy area to handle in K-12 grades. Incorporate manipulatives into lessons from the beginning to the end of geometry. A student does not need a qualifying label of special needs to work with these tools, so gather a bundle for them to work with for each objective.
The Simple Pleasures in Life
Recall the furniture moved into the living area earlier in the article. Think about an armchair with one arm higher the other and with three short legs and one really long one. Comfort is not the first thing that comes to mind when you visualize this piece of furniture. Speaking of comfort seating, manipulating and coupling shapes for spatial transformation make the cheapest to the highest-priced car drivable and livable at the same time as achieved by auto architects. Car designers put geometry into the entire vehicle beginning in the very early drafting stages of invention but one of the main areas of attention is on level of comfort in the cabin. Sometimes it takes years to get concept on the factory floor for production for this reason alone.
Do you have any students interested in art or drawing? Understanding spatial relations and shapes can greatly aid in those students artistic capacities. Breaking down objects into basic shapes is the beginning of realisitc drawings.
A day of taking inventory of what we see in our routine travels brings awareness to the use of geometry. Since the dawn of time, geometry has been crucial to humans and always will be. If you still have students complaining, try assigning a research project on the topic!