Monday, November 30, 2015

Did You Know?

Mathematics, Calculation, Pay There is a cool Geometry website with all sorts of materials available? Its subtitled "Welcome to Geometry from the Land of the Incas."  It has two sections that are really interesting.  The first is the section on geometry theorems and problems while the other emphasizes Inca Geometry.

The section on geometry theorems and problems is not as interesting to me because its filled with one page proofs and such with the picture for proof.  If you go to the home page, you'll find a list of what is in this section. It's the occasional slide show of real life slide shows that I find interesting.

Although the slide shows are mostly pictures, they don't always have explanations but as a teacher its not hard to have students explain the geometric concept in the picture.  For instance, in a slide show of real life examples in Los Angeles, there was a beautiful picture of the landing tower at LAX.  It showed two opening down parabolas so you could see the details.  I wondered if I could import a grid overlay so students could create the equation for the parabola?

It's the Inca part that I find most interesting.  I clicked on the link that shows the Inca trail to  Machu Picchu.  The link takes you to a google interactive map showing the trail and there is a description below which states there are actually three different trails.  There is a description of the four day trek along with information on various stops along the path.  Although there are really no math problems per say, it would be quite easy to create problems including RTD, linear equations for the daily treks, change in elevation for slope so students can calculate rate of change.

The topic choices are quite interesting and easily integrated into the math class with just  a bit of work by the teacher.  I looked at the link on Nazca Lines.  Nazca Lines are geoglyphs that cover a 37 mile segment that actually covers an area of over 300 square miles of ground.

There are animals, geometric shapes, etc drawn in the ground. Think about setting up a scale and then using that scale to figure out the areas of the different geometric shapes.  In addition, there are a number of additional links for more information and activities including a quiz on the Nazca Lines.

In most places, there is a push to include cultural activities.  In my area, we are expected to include Native American mathematics but who says we can't include mathematics from other areas of the world.  What would be awesome is if the math and social studies departments could work together so they both explore the Incan civilization at the same time.  It would make for a cool cross curricular unit.