365 Days of Earrings

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Power of Discovery

A few summers ago at a gallery in Berkeley Springs, WV where I like to stop and browse when I'm driving without pets, male companions, or deadlines, I saw some very beautiful earrings made of bent wire and thin beads. Unwilling to pay $50 a pair for bent wire and beads, I went home a tried to make some. I decided I should buy thinner wire, and try again. But I kept the earrings, and wore them today.

Early morning chatter in 3rd grade:

"We must be doing something with squares."

"Or maybe circles and squares."

As math class began, I wrote the word QUADRILATERAL on the board. "Does anyone know that word?"

"Nope, but I bet it has to do with squares," said Grayson.

"Hmm." I replied. "A square is one type of quadrilateral. Does anyone think they know another?"

And so we continued, discussing and describing and drawing and building four-sided figures.

Why name triangles for their angles and quadrilaterals for their sides? Why not trilateral and quadriangle? Why not name a shape for the number of vertices? More history mysteries!
"Maybe one of you will discover a something new, a planet or a new power source or a life-saving medicine. The discoverer gets to choose the name! Just like the Roman who named the quadrilateral thousands of years ago!"

1 comment:

Käthe said...

I love this post. Lively teacher and lively classroom all focused on learning together and wondering why?