trinomials, deriving the law of cosines with Ptolemy's Theorem,
or using concentric circles to generate a parabola may not be high
on your list of things to do. But, with several vigorous initiatives
to improve math and science curricula in New York City public schools
in full swing, you can be certain that such matters are very much
on the mind of secondary school mathematics teachers.
Aimed precisely at them is 101 Great Ideas for Introducing Key Concepts
in Mathematics: A Resource for Secondary School Teachers (Corwin
Press; wwwcorwinpress.com), a new book co-authored by two accomplished
mathematics educators, Herbert A. Hauptman, a City College alumnus
and Nobel Laureate, and Alfred S. Posamentier, Acting Dean of the
School of Education at City College and a professor of mathematics
The idea for the book was hatched as the two old friends were strolling
along the streets of Vienna, where both were presenting papers at
a mathematics conference.
The book offers new and unusual ways for teacher to introduce to
high school students topics and concepts in four main areas: algebra,
geometry, probability and statistics, and trigonometry. Most all
the "ideas" are accompanied by figures and illustrations. Among
the 101 on offer are Introducing Concurrency Through Paper Folding,
Introducing Compound Interest Using "The rule of 72," Don't Necessarily
Trust Your Geometric Intuition, and When "Averages" Are Not Averages:
Introducing Weighted Averages.
Now president of the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute
in Buffalo, Hauptman won his Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1985-the
first ever given to a mathematician and the first ever won by a
non-member of the National Academy of Sciences. He developed a mathematical
method that revolutionized chemistry research in the area of molecular
structures of crystallized materials. Hauptman's stellar career
began, shortly after his 1937 CCNY graduation, on a leaden note.
With no jobs in his field, he applied for a high school teaching
job, but was turned down when his Bronx accent caused him to flunk
the then very rigorous speech test.
Posamentier, an alumnus of Hunter College, won CCNY's Alumni Association
Educator of the Year award in 1994.