We all remember learning A squared plus B squared equals C squared and for many of us it was just one more meaningless fact to memorize. We never really saw it in action and we didn't learn who first made this discovery. I don't want my kids to just memorize to forget. I want them to really understand and know math facts in some sort of context. During our study of Ancient Greece, I wanted us to learn about Pythagoras. We can contribute many math discoveries to him, but we don't know a whole lot more about him as a person, so the book What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? A Math Adventure by Julie Ellis and Phyllis Hornung is a purely fictionalized story of the young Pythagoras. It is, however, a wonderful introduction to looking at number patterns and being able to apply them to real problems. It covers topics like right triangles and their properties as well as his famous theorem.
|And, yes, I know that the sketch that Sam made has an extra row on his 5 squared section...he might still be working on attention to detail, but he certainly knows what the theorem means and can picture what it means in his head. I am satisfied.|
Sam copied a page of the book in his math journal because it was so clear and visually appealing. As a group, we played with right triangles and Math-U-See blocks. We also played with knotted ropes and right triangles, also pictured in the book.