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ERIC Number: EJ916989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
What If We Lived in Flatland?
Anderson, Rick; Princko, Jamie A.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v16 n7 p400-406 Mar 2011
The authors wanted their students to consider mathematical notions of space and dimension, which are typically not part of the middle school curriculum. They developed a two-week lesson that was drawn from the curriculum unit "Exploring the Shape of Space" (Weeks 2001). They began by considering implications of living in a two-dimensional universe, which they introduced as "Flatland." Next, they considered ways that a two-dimensional universe could be connected and whether or not such a universe had a boundary. Students traversed new mathematical territory as they imagined life in a two-dimensional universe. Finally, students considered how their thinking of two-dimensional universes could extend to three or even four dimensions. The authors hoped that students would be challenged to think more deeply about two- and three-dimensional space and expand their conception of shape. They enjoyed exploring mathematical ideas not usually encountered in the middle grades but which were still connected to topics in the curriculum. They also learned more about students' thinking. They found that many of them had a concept of shape that was limited to two-dimensional geometric forms such as a square, a rectangle, or a triangle. (Contains 5 figures and 1 table.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A