In MATH 218: Geometry, students get the chance to learn about Euclidean Geometry the way that generations of mathematicians have – by constructing the rules themselves. Like all areas of mathematics, geometry consists of taking simple ideas (There is a line through any two points, two triangles are congruent if all of their sides are congruent) and combining them to get more and more complicated ideas (The angles in a triangle sum up to 180 degrees). Combining these simple ideas can be difficult, and teaching students how to do this – writing a proof – is one of the biggest challenges in teaching mathematics.
Geometry is taught as an inquiry-based course. Unlike a traditional lecture format, in an inquiry-based course, students do the teaching to each other. Dr. Mark Branson guides them through a series of problems, offering suggestions and correcting mistakes, so that students can go from solving simple problems to more complicated ones – just like mathematics! When we approach mathematics as a puzzle to be solved, rather than a formula to learn, it’s more enjoyable and productive. The class also offers a real-life laboratory for our middle-school education students who are concentrating in Mathematics & Science to learn about this innovative teaching style. In these pictures, you can see students presenting their solutions to various geometry problems.