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ERIC Number: EJ775306
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
Just Four Points and "The Prepared Mind"
Sharp, John
Mathematics Teaching, n184 p8-12 Sep 2003
Solving problems often means trying out ideas one knows about which might lead down blind alleys. In this article, the author provides a solution to the following simple mathematical problem: Suppose you have four points which are on the four sides of a square, how do you construct the square? He says that the obvious place to tackle it is to use the property that the angle in a semi-circle is a right angle. However, one soon finds that this approach does not get the desired result. Solving a problem like this requires building up a bank of knowledge to call upon, hence "the prepared mind." Lessons to be learned from the experimentation required to solve this four points problem are discussed. (Contains 6 figures and 9 resources.)
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A