You are part of a panel of parents, teachers, and administrators working to revise the geometry curriculum for the local high school. On tonight's agenda, you will be brainstorming creative ways to teach surface area and volume. The teachers are especially interested in methods which will help the students connect geometry to life in the "real world" because student motivation has sometimes been lacking in this course. What suggestions do you make to the panel during your discussion? Why do you think students would benefit from this idea being used in the classroom? Explain your idea in at least two paragraphs.
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Geometry can be connected to "real world" situations in many ways. How about using various paper shapes to cover a surface and estimate its surface area; Triangles, Pentagons, Rectangles, etc. ? Tiling concepts - one could even take that as far as fractals, which could even be made into a large class project to map a natural shoreline length which is not surface area of a volume. You could use the same idea to get the surface area for a milk truck tank or something similar with a cylindrical shape and using the 2 PI R L as the known formula. You could illustrate the development approximation of PI using shapes with ever-increasing numbers of sides around a circle in a field or some other man made circular shape or volume. You can talk about packaging strategies, and discuss the pay-load of the space shuttle using geometry. Many naturally occurring volumes that can be filled with water to check calculation versus practicality. Many things that can be painted, and geometry can help figure out how much paint is required to cover a surface.
Many studies on learning support such innovation in teaching subjects. Processes of memory retention are supported by hands-on versus learning in the books and restating on tests as that seems to only have a short retention span for most students. The associations outside the classroom to everyday occurrences make the tapestry of the factoid connections bright and interesting. When a number of correlations are available for the bits of information it is much easier to find a file in the storage process when it is needed later. The correlation of the principles and methods of geometry to near everyday experience enhances this interconnection the student has with geometry and bolsters the ideas he has of his surroundings.
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