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!"