What did the little acorn say when he grew up? Geometry (Gee, I’m a tree)!

Sorry for the ‘teacher’ joke.

As soon as we begin to enquire about *shapes,* we are ‘speaking’ geometry. Originally, it was the mathematics of measuring the Earth, surveying blocks of land for farming, for example. In Egypt, geometry was used to replace boundary markers between properties after the Nile flooded each year. The term geometry comes from the Greek words γη (ge-) or γαια (Gaia) meaning earth, ground or land, and μέτρον (métron) meaning measure.

Geometry can be regarded as the discipline of studying abstract shapes with their properties and relationships. It can also be thought of in very practical terms. Tradespeople use geometry every day of their lives, making sure walls or frames are square, having the correct gradients for trusses, roofs, pathways, stormwater, etc. I have workmen on my roof at the moment, replacing corrugated iron sheeting. The art of cutting the sheeting to fit involves some clever geometry!

All the different facets of geometry result from our asking curious questions. At least, *someone* asked these questions:

- how do these shapes compare? ~ Congruency and Similarity
- how can I alter (or not alter) these shapes? ~ Transformations and Symmetry
- how do shapes fit together? ~ Tessellations
- how can I calculate distances/lengths diagonally across objects? ~ Pythagoras’ Theorem
- how can I measure lengths and angles inside circles and what properties do circles have? ~ Circle Geometry
- how can different places be connected? ~ Graph Theory
- what does ‘being connected’ mean, and what fundamental properties of shapes are preserved when a shape is distorted? ~ Topology

We were all deeply impressed with Graeme from the very beginning. [Lucas’] confidence radically changed within only 3 weeks of Graeme’s instruction and assistance. I am sure this was largely attributed to Graeme’s infectious passion and love for his subject, and his high personal level of skill, teaching experience and understanding of mathematics. Lucas always found Graeme could explain concepts so knowledgeably and easily, which really did transform Lucas’ appreciation and enjoyment of the subject. Graeme always gave Lucas assistance and time over and above his hour’s tutoring session. Graeme has developed a wonderful relationship and more of a mentoring role which has been of great assistance and value to Lucas as he faces the pressures of his final year of school. I have no hesitation in recommending Graeme as an outstanding tutor and friend, and a very wise, knowledgeable and capable teacher of the highest calibre.

Sally T (parent, 2005)

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