The effort to make mathematics more relevant to the student and to bridge the gap between subject areas has been the task of the mathematics curriculum designers.
In geometry efforts need to be made to bring more real life activities into it’s teaching. Students need to be made more aware of the utility of geometric concepts, and how these concepts have been used by different cultures and have been utilized in their every day lives.
The Mathematics Standards call for mathematics that provide experiences that deepen student’s understanding of shapes and their properties; with an emphasis on their wide applicability in human activities. The curriculum should be filled with examples of how geometry can be used in recreation, in practical tasks; in the sciences, and in the arts.
The development of this unit will provide students with the ability to use geometry in the arts and in recreation, while at the same time developing students’ intuition, and their creativity. African ornaments will be studied and used as the hallmark for creating their own designs, and at the same time using the geometric concepts of tessellation, translation, and reflection.
The unit will use these ornaments and designs to provide practice for students learning to manipulate geometric instruments such as the compass, the ruler and the straight edge.
The unit will introduce the student to African traditional architecture, and examine how African ornaments, wall painting and motifs use geometric shapes to express and explain the culture.
The students will be encouraged to discuss the ornaments and architectural designs in the setting and period they were executed and use these as examples in developing ornaments for their own use.
The unit will be developed in two sections. The first section will focus on the history of African traditional architecture and ornaments. Where necessary efforts will be made to explain the meanings of the designs and the occasions of their use.
In the second part an effort will be made to make connections between the designs and their geometric representation of the ornaments and motifs. Ornaments or motifs that lend themselves to geometric properties will be reproduced. ( Features such as line designs, designs with circles, motifs and designs that are repetitive or use the properties of reflection, translation, and tessellation.)
The unit is designed to:
(a) provide students with information about traditional African culture and motivate students to explore aspects of this vast culture for themselves.
(b) provide students with mini projects that will involve the use of geometric instruments, and the execution of their unique design.
(c) provide students with the sources for the information so that they can use existing ornaments as examples to create their own designs.
(d) to encourage students to use their mathematics ability, and apply these concepts to the development of practical usable crafts.
This unit is designed to reaffirm the beliefs that I share that mathematics should be made relevant so that students are involved and therefore get them to learn the content. If students are to enjoy mathematics, then they must find meaningful ways of using the information.