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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Transformation Golf

My deep and abiding appreciation for low-risk opportunities for kids to screw up can not be overstated. The supremacy in many classroom implementations of computer/calculator technology over paper is in the availability of the undo command. The flow of an optimized activity of this sort is try it, screw up, be surprised, talk/listen, learn, try again.

I know I other news, water is wet.

With that in mind, I bring you...Transformation Golf. The directions are "Get the blue shape to match the green shape." Shots are taken by commanding your dynamic geometry software to perform line reflections, transformations, rotations, and dilations on the blue shape. The early holes start with one-offs, and later holes require compositions of transformations. Accountability and notation practice come from having the students write down the specific transformation they used for each shot. There are deeper conversations to be had about how to decide par for particular holes, and for any hole. But, still, the beauty is in the undo button*.

I wrote this a few years ago, before I knew about Geogebra. So, the golf game file and the associated instructions use Geometer's Sketchpad. Perhaps some industrious soul will adapt it to Geogebra and share it with the rest of us. 

*This paragraph was brought to you by The Passive Voice.