Segment by Segment to Infinity

I, too, am asking myself , “What is the point of teaching Robert elements of basic geometry? What is the point of introducing these abstract concept of point, line, ray, or line segment?  Is it not enough that Robert names geometrical shapes in two and three dimensions?

What is the point of teaching that a line segment has two endpoint, a ray has one, and a line doesn’t have any ends but extends itself to infinity in both directions?

For the last few days Robert has been bringing  from school pages of  simple  operations on coins. A dime and a nickel. A change from a dollar. The  activities on those worksheets seem so realistic, normal, needed….functional for a student with severe developmental delays and almost no language.

But… Robert has an ATM card where his SSI payments are deposited every month.  He uses his ATM to withdraw money or pay for his McDonald meals, once a week grocery shopping, or movie tickets.   From time to time, he writes checks under my supervision and directions.  He doesn’t have yet access to banking on-line as  I am afraid that Robert could be enticed into transferring money into someone’s else account.

No, I don’t think there is anything functional in teaching Robert counting coins.

On the other hand, those abstract concepts of points, rays, line segments, and lines might one day calm his unspoken restlessness as he will  look, from whatever place he finds himself to be,  on the starry sky above. He will see the stars like endpoints of the  line segments that extend themselves into infinite universe.  With those few concepts from Euclidean geometry he might have a spark of understanding and for a moment he will find himself to be a  part of the universe.

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