Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

High School Math in Middle School

In September, my granddaughter Rhiannon (then 13) made an aggressive and courageous mathematical decision. Coming off acing ninth-grade Algebra 1 the previous year, she convinced her middle school to let her double up in math: her eighth grade schedule would include both Algebra 2 and Geometry.

Her mother (my daughter Emily) was concerned about the workload; her father was convinced it was foolhardy. To complicate the decision, scheduling conflicts made it impossible for her to take Geometry in her middle school; it had to be an online course. I volunteered to be her mentor. (Full disclosure: my last Geometry course was 1958-59.)

It wasn’t enough that Rhiannon had to take a full course load at school and work with me in the evenings and weekends. When the pandemic hit, all “critical” teen interactions were curtailed; she had few recreational outlets. Nevertheless we powered through side-angle-side, SOHCAHTOA (remember that mnemonic?), three-dimensional solids, and inscribed angles. All she needed for full credit and the opportunity to move into senior-year Math Analysis as a freshman was a passing grade in the online course.

But then, with just a few weeks to go, she was informed by counselors at her prospective high school that the online course that had been suggested to her by her middle school was not accredited by the U California system. After much gnashing of teeth and a slew of emails, it was agreed by all that Rhiannon could take her middle school teacher’s final exam in Geometry. An entire year of study would rest on her score on that one test.
She took the test yesterday. I proctored via Facetime. It will be graded by her school next week. I graded it last night. According to my scoring (objects may be closer than they appear), she got 91%!

Huzzah!
Here’s a question from her test. How well do you remember geometry? Place your answer in the comments.

2 Comments

  1. Ron Irving says:

    The angle is [censored] degrees.

  2. Steve Cotler says:

    Correct! But I would expect no less from you.
    (answer is censored to let others try.)

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