Sunday, June 25, 2006

Which Geometry texts do you like?

In trying to get up to speed on Geometry teaching, I have been reviewing quite a few different textbooks. Each one, of course, has its good and its bad, and this is relative to the audience of the book (I believe). One reader emailed me to say that, in the course of supplementing her children's math education, came to detest the book that was being used (Key Curriculum Press: Discovering Geometry) and recommends Geometry, 2nd Edition by Harold Jacobs for its logical development, clear definitions, and foundations built on postulates. These are actually two of the books that I have been looking at, and I see some really good things in both of them.

We actually have a couple of shelves filled with the Harold Jacobs book which we purchased early on, and then found out that our students were unable to have much success with it. We are going to be reevaluating our Geometry curriculum for the following year, including testing out some different texts. Keep in mind that we are beholden to the state standards and STAR testing just like any public school... In all our decisions, we have to struggle between what is best for our students' mathematical development and access to college level work, and the spectre of the STAR test and API rankings. believe it or not, these do not always coincide!

If you teach (or have taught) Geometry, what texts are you using? Why do you like/dislike them? What type of student population are you working with?


Barry Garelick said...

Jurgenson's Geometry is also very good, but theone recommended to me by several mathematicians is by
Adkins/Weeks. My personal favorite is by Moise/Downs, still available from Pearson's, and in a previous incarnation was the SMSG "Geometry" text used in the new math era in the 60's. It is excellent and very rigorous, but may be too rigorous for some. Good as a supplemental book, though, and full of good, tough, thought provoking problems.

reed said...

The info & sites below are but a small amount of data I've submitted to our local school board in an attempt to rid our district of "Discovering Geometry"

“Prerequisite: Teacher / Parent placement
Discovering Geometry introduces students to basic geometry concepts. It is a hands-on
approach designed to help students who struggle
with math. This course is not designed to prepare
students for higher mathematics…”

And this: from some school in Arizona -

“Discovering Geometry (1, 2) (Year) 11-12
Discovering Geometry is a two semester alternative for junior and senior level students who have previously failed traditional geometry. In this course which incorporates cooperative learning methods, students actually create geometry for themselves as they work through the labs, activities, and original problems. Students use hands on methods to learn to recognize, draw, describe, analyze shapes and representations in the physical world. The course is aligned with the TUSD Core Curriculum and the Arizona State Standards for Mathematics. While some review of basic algebra concepts and AIMS concepts takes place in this class, it is not recommended as a prerequisite for Intermediate Algebra.

The sites below show how "Discovering Geometry" is used by scores of middle schools across the US. Hardly a proper book for rigorous HS study.

And from Alaska:

Sandy Schoff, Math Curriculum Coordinator, presented the two new math texts that were selected by the math textbook selection committee. Math Matters 2 is for juniors and seniors who have met the algebra requirement
for graduation, but did not pass the HSGQE. It contains both algebra and geometry, and will serve as repetition, refresher, and catch-up for those
students. Discovering Geometry is a concept/activity based presentation of geometry that will serve as an alternative text for the Informal Geometry class.

I respectfully offer this as anecdotal proof that Serra's "Discovering Geometry" has no place as the sole means to deliver a proper geometry education.