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Grace Fleming

Geometry - Who Needs It?

By April 11, 2011

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The oldest question in the world for students is "when will I ever use this math in real life?" When it comes to geometry, you might be surprised how handy your formulas will be in the future.

Boating: Before GPS (and still used as a back-up in case the GPS system goes down), mariners used basic geometric principles to find their location and calculate distance. If you're ever a serious boater, you'll want to know how to use some old mariners' tricks--in case the technology goes down.

Engineers: Engineers use geometry every day, from calculating the angles required for a bridge support, to calculating the precise angle for space shuttle reentry.

Interior designers: There are lots of angles and areas to be calculated when designing a room!

Plumbers: Water cannot flow uphill, at least not without a pump. Therefore, plumbers can calculate the correct angle to ensure a pipe will allow drainage.

Home improvement: Basic geometry can be used for many applications. For instance, the rule of right angled triangles can be used to erect a garden fence. Laying floor tile, mowing the lawn, painting a wall: you'll find yourself calculating area many times as a home owner!

Comments

April 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm
(1) Moshe Sharon says:

That high School kids are still saying that geometry is a waste of time because they can’t see what possible use they would ever have for it, strikes a familiar chord. This was exactly the same conversation some forty-five years ago when I was in the tenth grade. It’s amazing that after four and a half decades, no one is bothering to teach kids how to relate. So children are still asking the same question, “Why do I need to learn this stuff?” However if teachers would tell them, “Circular motion is the foundation of time and space,” it might perk some interest because it’s all about shape, which Wikipedia defines as “the external two-dimensional outline, appearance or configuration of some thing — in contrast to the matter or content or substance of which it is composed.” Additionally, the interesting thing about this concept is that despite the connotation of physical structure we seem to be able to apply it also to the realm of intangibles, so these ideas about shape are taking shape. But the point here is that shape is the foundation and infrastructure of all existence and that the key to success and joy is in the forms and structures of the universe by which we shape our thoughts into action to achieve all objectives. Thoughts, for the most part are responses to stimuli emanating from the world around us, which is a hodgepodge of geometry. Hence, the shapes of this finite world influence, impact and inspire what we think, which, in turn governs all of our actions. Some questions have answers and some don’t, but the bottom line is that we need to look at each of the basic geometric figures as they exist in our language, culture and the world around us so that we may uncover some of the secrets of life to achieve joy and success. Therefore, seeing stimulates thought, thought causes speech, speech transforms to action and action leads to success. So, look, see and enjoy.

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