| Published: December 13, 2010 – 8:33 pm
Sunday morning around 9:00 am, I was riding my bike up and down some of the steeper hills in the fabled Hollywood Hills, which are to be sure not far from home. I like to feel the burn and appreciate the focus that steep climbs require, arrrgghhhâ€¦
I came upon three 8th graders with chalk working along the curb of a very quiet neighborhood street. They were standing around a small box. They were all looking at the box and thinking. So, I thought, â€śHey, maybe theyâ€™re about to blow something up (something in the box).â€ť It turned out they were working on some geometry problems. They had a rectangle with diagonals in chalk. They were discussing which angle was equal to which, which triangles might be congruent, and a few other wonderful conclusions that might be drawn from this fundamental sketch.
I was and am just delighted thinking about it. They were working as a team, two girls and a boy, outdoors, with hand-drawn sketches of line segments, angles, and intersectionsâ€“ all with chalk on pavement. On this Sunday morning, some learning was happening right before my eyes. We talked for a bit about geometry and its importance in our daily lives and in the history of our civilization. I asked them if they knew or embraced the two fundamentals in Euclidian Geometry. They knew them, but perhaps not immediately. I went on, as I am wont to do about the planets, the Solar System, and our place in space. (Check out planetary.org.) After a bit, I realized that they recognized me, but were playing it cool. It was fun, after a fashion. I rode away.
I got back to the bottom of one of the steep hills and started for home. About a kilometer later, I thought, â€śI should go back and get a picture or two.â€ť I turned around and climbed that steep hill again, this time from the other side. The kids were not around; maybe they were back inside tweeting and booking of Face. At any rate, they left their chalk drawing. While I was gone, they completed a record of the two fundamental rules in Euclidian Geometry right there on the street:
1) âŽ˘âŽ˘ NEVER MEET [parallel lines]
2) X EQUAL [vertical angles are always]
If I may, how cool is that?
As I rode off, I shouted for the world to hear, â€śGEOMETRY RULES!!!â€ť