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ERIC Number: EJ1179025
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Getting out of Flatland
Popelka, Susan R.; Langlois, Joshua
Mathematics Teacher, v111 n5 p352-359 Mar 2018
"Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" is an 1884 novella written by English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott. He describes what it would be like to live in a two-dimensional (2D) world--Flatland. It is fascinating reading that underscores the challenge of teaching three-dimensional (3D) mathematics using 2D tools. Real-world applications of mathematics happen in three dimensions, and yet so much effort is spent trying to draw and imagine 3D concepts in Flatland. With the advent of 3D printers, teaching mathematics has taken on a new "dimension." Students are no longer limited to understanding mathematics in three dimensions by sketching and studying 2D drawings. They are now able to design, build, and study 3D objects; they are able to hold the models in their hands and view them from any angle they choose. They can escape Flatland and enter the real world with all of its 3D mathematical richness. This article describes two high school calculus classroom activities using 3D printer models to generate volumes of solids of revolution and of known cross section.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A