Top positive review
37 people found this helpful
Don't Listen to the NaySayers
on January 28, 2011
Those above with negative things to say are only one viewpoint. How about a review from someone who has used this text (2nd, 3rd, and now 4th edition)?
I LOVE this geometry text. As a high school math teacher, I have used Serra's text for 10 years now, with great results. It teaches students how to think inductively, which is a greatly lacking skill among high school students. It also helps students to develop into independent thinkers and great problem solvers. In addition, it teaches students how to work with others, a skill that anyone who works with people can attest is lacking. It also develops students into better readers, as they have to read written instructions on a daily basis to succeed in the course. All of these are great benefits of the book. BUT...
If the facilitator/teacher doesn't use proper constructivist techniques in the classroom then this approach will fail. The teacher must be on his/her toes, must enforce cooperative problem solving norms in the classroom, must have rules for group work, social skills that students are to adhere to, etc... I suspect that those who have taught using this text and have had a hard time with it have experienced such because they aren't using it correctly.
This text will revolutionize your geometry class. It will transform your class from a traditional, 150 year old teacher-centered classroom to progressive, modern, discovery learning, student-centered classroom. It places the responsibility of the learning on the student--where it should be.
So what if there's no glossary? It's misleading of people to say that this is a bad text because there's no glossary. This is, once again, a product of using the wrong method with this text. Students discover and write their own definitions for terms, and keep a notebook to add definitions to each day. They also investigate geometric relationships and add conjectures (theorems) to their notebooks daily. If the students don't know terms or theorems, it's because they aren't doing the work (again, responsibility is theirs).
So what if there are no answers to the problems in the back of the book? This allows students time to explore and apply and critically think about problems without the crutch of the answer (most math books also don't offer solutions to problems, only answers, so they're not that helpful anyway). I make a copy of the answer key for each group in my class, and they sit as a group and discuss homework problems at the beginning of each class, so they have a chance to peer-tutor every day--another great skill to have.
Again, the nay-sayers aren't being fair. This is a great text, and certainly adds interest and fun to what is otherwise an often poorly taught, boring class.
One thing I love about this text is that it shows students that geometry is a mathematical system, and as the instructor you can facilitate some great discussions about the validity of Euclidean geometry being based on Euclid's assumptions. Obviously, they're not fool-proof as there are other types of geometry whose authors disagreed with some of Euclid's propositions.
Lastly, 99% of your students will not grow up to become mathematicians or engineers. Why do they have to engage in a class that forces proofs too early, asks them to think and act like mathematicians when they are not, and is often downright boring? Who cares if this text waits too long to introduce proof? How many of you did proof anywhere besides geometry? (By the way, the 4th edition has a proof strand throughout, and slowly allows students to get used to the idea of what a proof is and how to develop one.)
Traditional texts are too difficult for most students. Research suggests that more than 90% of students who take HS geometry never really understand proofs. Again, the nay-sayers need to read up on the recommendations from NCTM. This text is exactly what organizations like the NCTM recommend and endorse. They recommend more investigative, discovery learning because they realize that in the long run it is better for students and helps them to become better problem solvers. This text does exactly that.