A book I’m reading mentioned the process for constructing an equilateral triangle on a given side using only a compass and straight edge. I thought to myself, hey, I never learned to do that in geometry.
So I tried it. Lo and behold, it works. Beautifully.
So go get a compass and straight edge. Follow this:
1. Draw a random line on a blank sheet of paper.
2. Measure that line with the points of your compass.
3. Draw two arcs with the compass, AB and BA, where A and B are the endpoints of your line.
4. The intersection point of the two arcs is the third point of an equilateral triangle.
5. Use the straight edge to complete the figure.
I swear, I think I learned more geometry in that one lesson than in years of mathematics. Geometry, once upon a time, wasn’t looking at mysterious diagrams in a book and guessing at mysterious answers — it was building shapes with real tools.
And yet we wonder why national-average math scores drop year after year.
Hmmm. Did any of my readers get this sort of “practical” geometry instruction? Or was I sick that day?