Math Tourist: Geometric Objects in Stanislaus Nat'l Park

Suggested Books

Essential Questions for students (objectives):  Where can you find geometric objects or relationships in the natural world?

Supplies:   video (length 1:52), note-maker, Math in Your World assignment (optional)
CCSS:  4.G.1, 4.G.2
Time needed: 20 - 30 minutes 
Instructional Format: Video, class discussion, individual work

Vocabulary for a Word Wall: parallel, perpendicular, angle (obtuse, acute, right), lines, points, rays.

Description: There are many ways to use this video in your math class.  First of all, I did film it for a 4th grade class, but you can use it any time that you are working with geometric vocabulary – lines, angles, and shapes.   The upshot of this lesson is the connection between the geometric that we study (Euclidean Geometry) and the natural world.  It is also an introduction to where the math that we study originates.  I love talking to students about the origins of all areas of mathematics, especially geometry.   A great classroom conversation would be for students to brainstorm places to look for geometric objects/concepts in the natural world.  Here is a note-maker for students to use as they watch the video and look for geometric concepts in the natural world.

 1) You can show this video (1:52) at the beginning of a unit on geometry as a hook that will keep the students interested in learning about the vocabulary.  You can have students collectively create a “geometry museum” with examples of items (or pictures) that show geometric vocabulary that occurs in the natural world – no man made stuff!   Or you could revisit the video at the end of the unit as a formative check by freezing on a snapshot of the mountain to see what vocabulary and relationships the students can identify.

2)  You can use this video as the explanation to an assignment called Math in Your World.

Extensions:  1)  Have students bring in photos to exchange with a partner.  Challenge the partner to find as many geometric relationships as possible in the photo.  This encourages students to look for photos that have multiple concepts.  2)  Have students research Euclid and the Elements and report their findings to the rest of the class, or have students research other geometries, like Riemann Geometry or Analytical.

Related Texts:  I enjoy the activities and information in the text : Agnesi to Zeno:  Over 100 Vignettes from the History of Math by Sanderson Smith

Book Cover

Help Wanted on
Mont Vernon
This book combines history
and mathematics with
adorable characters to teach
kids about the many talents
of the first U.S. President.

Book Cover

The UnderAchievers:
Woven into a fun story, this
book provides excellent
math lessons for kids.  

Writing Across the Curriculum:
The NumberFix Project


Book Cover

 Wacky We-Search Reports:
A popular book on writing
across the curriculum.