

Geometry applications
Name: jim kelly
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1995
Question:
What, in your expert opinion, is geometry good for in real life? Vertical
angles, alternate interior angles, etc.
Replies:
By real life I assume that you mean other than the universe of theorems and
proofs that usually baffle and discourage students in the all too standard
courses that still dominate offerings in our public school curricula.
I do not have the space here to give a lot of detail, but geometry is
important in parts of every applied science. Most of my students are
studying to become engineers. For them, geometry is an important part of
design, drawing, and computer modeling. It also is used frequently in their
physics and other physical science courses as part of understanding the
effects of loads on structures and balancing points (centers of gravity) for
composite solids. In chemistry, understanding the geometry of a molecule is
related to understanding the properties of substances. Many more examples
exist.
tee
The previous answer is generally a good one, but I think a little strong in
asserting that the definitions and theorems "usually" confuse students. I
would go with "sometimes" instead. Just as one of the goals in a science
class is to learn the scientific method (questions in science). One of the
goals in learning mathematics is to learn how new questions can be answered
in mathematics. The definitions, theorems and proofs in a geometry provides
an example of how this is done. There are many educators who think that
high school geometry is not the best place to approach these ideas. There
is merit in that view but I, for one, am not sure what replacement approach
is best.
chaffer
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Update: June 2012

