The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane – Part 15
By Barbara Lynn Terry
Chapter 1 – Jimmy and Jay read their essay.
The next morning, Jay Simons and Jimmy went down to breakfast. They left their back packs in their rooms, because they still had to brush theur teeth. While at breakfast, they taled about their essay and how far they had gotten.
When breakfast was done, Jay and Jimmy went to brush their teeth. They came down with their back packs, ciats and hats. They hugged their parents and left for the bus stop. Francine McGuire was already at the bus stop. Her sisters took the same bus that Kathy Shepard took.
As the buses came and the doors opened, the children got on their respective buses. When the children were all seated, the driver closed the doors, and headed off to school. In this school district, school buses did not move until all the children were seated.
When Jay and Jimmy got in to their classroom, Jimmy set the essay on Miss Addie’s desk. When Miss Addie was finished at the blackboard, she sat down. She looked over the essay, while the children were still coming in the room. She looked at Jay and Jimmy and smiled. When all her students were seated, Miss Addie took the roll. After taking the roll call, she spoke to the class.
“Class, remember when I said that you learn by doing? Two students in this class put an unassigned essay on my desk. This essay is called The Tierra del Fuego. Does anyone know where the Tierra del Fuego is?”
Sherri Johnson raised her hand.
“Yes, Sherri,” said Miss Addie.
“Isn’t the Tierra del Fuego in South America, Miss Addie?”
“Yes, it is, but I will let Jay and Jimmy read their essay. You should all take notes, because we could have this on a test when we get to South America. Jay, Jimmy, will you please come up and read your essay?”
The two boys got up and went to the front of the classroom. Jimmy read the first part of the essay, and Jay read the second half. This essay was a team effort, so they both read part of the essay.*
When they were finished reading the essay, Miss Addie asked the class if they had any questions. Several students raised their hands. Bobby Johnson was called on.
“Isn’t Cape Horn in South America?” Bobby asked.
“Yes,” Jay answered. “The southern most tip of the Tierra del Fuego forms Cape Horn. Jimmy, would you like to finish the rest of the answer?”
“Thank you, Jay. Before there was the Panama Canal, sailing ships had to go all the way around Cape Horn to go to different places for a lot of reasons. Some ships carried cargo, some carried passengers. Some ships were even on expeditions. So, the southern most part of the Tierra del Fuego is what forms Cape Horn.”
“Thank you, Jay and Jimmy for that very well put answer. Does anyone else have any questions?” no one raised their hand. “Very well, thank you, Jay and Jimmy for this excellent essay and a very detailed and informative answer. You may sit down. Class, you may find out more about the Tierra del Fuego from the Encyclopaedia Britannica and online. As you all heard from Jay and Jimmy’s essay, the Tierra del Fuego is a fascinating place to study. Let us take out our math books and turn to chapter 12, page 23. We are going to study simple geometry.”**
As Miss Addie went through the lesson, there were many hands being raised. All of the students were asking pertinent questions about the lesson. Miss Addie called on Nancy Stanford.
“Miss Addie, what exactly is geometry?” Nancy asked.
“Class, geometry is the science of mathematically determining the dimensions of shapes, such as triangles, squares, rectangles, circles. Does anyone know what an octagon is.” Joel Herford raised his hand.
“Yes, Joel, do you know?”
“Isn’t that an eight sided sphere?”
“That is nearly correct, Joel. An octagon has the eight sides, but they are straight lines plus eight angles. It is actually called a polygon. Architects who build these types of buildings, must know geometry. I bet these architects know a lot more than just simple math, algebra, and geometry. We’re not going to get in to doing any problems just yet. I want you all to look up geometry on your home computers. You will find that the science of geometry is a fascinating part of the science of mathematics. I see the lunch bell is about to ring. Class, please lineup.”
The children put their books in their desks. They all lined up at the classroom door. When the lunch bell rang, Miss Addie walked with them to the lunch room. Since the children were not allowed to talk in class, unless they raised their hand and were called on. But, they went in to over drive when they got to the cafeteria.
Jay Simons did not like the cooked food in the cafeteria. It was always greasy, and you couldn’t taste the food; at least in Jay’s mind. So, Jay just took a thing of orange juice and a container of yogurt. He paid the cashier, and sat down. Jimmy joined him.
“Jay, I was just thinking that maybe we could study geometry tonight, and then we could be ready for any problems Miss Addie would give us to work on.”
“That sounds great, Jimmy. We could even practice writing them down. I also want to look octagons and see for myself what they are all about.”
“I think you’re right, Jay. I don’t think Miss Addie will send us home with any homework. So we will have all evening, up to bed time, to study. We do good school work together, Jay.”
“Thank you, Jimmy.”
A buzzer in the cafeteria sounds that the lunch hour is about to end. All the children got up and took their trays and stacked them on the cart. Those that had regular flatware, put them in to the pan on the cart as they left the cafeteria. They all went back to their classroom when the first bell rang.
“Welcome back, class. Just before lunch, I said that I was not going to give you any geometry problems. Is there anybody in this class that does not have a home computer?” No one raised their hand. “Good. So, for the next week, your geometry homework will be to study what we learned this morning. Also, we will for, the next week, be learning about the War of 1812. We will learn some of the causes of this war. Does anyone know even a little bit about this war.” Jimmy Shepard raised his hand.
“Wasn’t General Andrew ‘Old Hickory’ Jackson in charge of the American forces in New Orleans?”
“Yes, Jimmy, but that is only part of it. ‘Old Hickory’ was called the hero of the west. But, when he defeated the British at New Orleans, Louisiana, he was named commander in chief of what was then the southern frontier. After the war of 1812 was over in 1815.
“There is a lot to be learned about ‘Old Hickory’ He was a real hero, often making military decisions on his own, without specific orders from his superiors in Washington, D.C. I see that we have to move on. Take out your spelling books.”
The children took out their spelling books and writing tablets. They waited for Miss Addie to give the lesson.
“What we are going to do is, I am going to put a phrase on the blackboard. I want you all to look at the phrase very carefully, and make as many words, three letters or longer. Are we ready, class?” They all said yes, Miss Addie.
The first phrase was simple. Miss Addie wrote this on the blackboard.
DONALD WAS ON HIS WAY HOME
“Class, make as many words from this phrase that you can. Remember, three letter words or more.”
The children were busy writing down words that they knew. We have to remember that everyone of these students has a computer at home. They use those computers to help them with their homework. So, this simple phrase will be easy for them.
Miss Addie was walking in the aisles between the desks. She was watching her students write words from the phrase on the blackboard. As she passed each student she could tell that the lessons she taught these children, was paying off.
After twenty minutes went by, Miss Addie told the children to put their pencils down. She walked to the front of the classroom, and stood in front of her desk.
“Children, I was watching you as you were writing. You all did very well. On one paper, I saw the word ‘shone’. That is what it takes. Spelling is very important. When you graduate from high school, spelling is going to be a big part of any job you work at. Well, class, I see we have spent most of the day on three subjects. That is good. The bell ending the school day is about to ring. I want you all to study geometry on your computers at home.” The school bell rang.
“Class, please line up and we will go out to your buses.”
The children all lined up, and then Miss Addie escorted them to their buses.
On the bus ride home, the children from Miss Addie’s class, were very studious.. Jimmy Shepard, Francine McGuire, and Jay Simons were talking about having a study group. These children found that studying together was a positive thing.
As their bus pulled up to Ginger Lane, they saw Steve Hastings parked across the highway. Something must have happened while they were either in school or on the ride home. The children knew not to even say hi to Steve while he had his car blocking the road. It was then that an Addison county sheriff’s squad came to help Steve block the road.
“Something happened, Jay. They are waiting for someone, because they are looking away from town.”
“Sure looks like it, Jimmy,” Francine McGuire added.
What the children didn’t know, was that the police and sheriff was waiting for a 1999 Ford Escort with three men inside. They were wanted for bank robbery. So, while this drama was unfolding, the children went to their homes.
Eileen Shepard was in the living room, just finished with the vacuuming. She greeted the two boys as they entered the house.
“Hello, boys, how was school?”
“it was alright. Miss Addie said we’re supposed to study geometry on our computers. We were talking with Francine McGuire, and we agreed to have a study group for our geometry sessions. Miss Addie said she isn’t going to give us any geometry problems, until we have studied for a bit.”
“Well, Jimmy, it sounds like you had a very educational day.”
“We did, Mrs. Shepard,” Jay added. “Miss Addie even gave us a phrase and told us to make as many words from it that we could think of.”
“We used to do that when I was in school,” said Eileen Shepard. “We came up with a few funny words, too. Our teacher would just look at us, because she knew we were goofing off. School work hasn’t changed since I went to school. After all, one and one is still two. But, today, they are teaching you more than we were taught, kinda.
“You say that you were told to study geometry on your computers. When I was in school, we didn’t have geometry until what was then called junior high school. Today it is called middle school. The basic lessons though, are still the same. If you have any questions about what you are looking at on your computers, ask me and I will help you understand it a little better.”
“We will, Mrs. Shepard,” Jay answered Eileen Shepard. “Miss Addie told us to work some of the problems we see on the internet. She said this would be the only way we could understand how geometry works.”
“She is right, Jay. The only way to understand something is to work at it.”
“That’s why me and Jimmy use the computers a lot, Mrs. Shepard,” Jay Simons added.
“Well, alright then, but if you need any help, just come and get me. Has Miss Addie given you algebra lessons, yet?”
“Yes, mom,” Jimmy answered. “We did that last semester.”
“You will find that geometry has algebra in it. Have you ever studied the metric system of math?”
“Yes, Mrs. Shepard,” Jay answered her.
“I asked because geometry deals with the metric system. I will let you boys study a bit before dinner. I am going to go and get dinner started.”
Eileen Shepard left Jimmy’s room and went to the kitchen. The two boys turned on Jimmy’s computer, and brought up a site that teaches people to study geometry. Jimmy saw a problem on the site and he tried to solve it according to the lesson. He had a few problems understanding some of the bigger words, so he was going to wait until after dinner.
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t geometry a little too advanced for the age of these children. Not necessarily. You see, this is what they call a progressive school. Lessons learned at this school, will prepare these students for middle and high school.
Jay and Jimmy decided to study the problems on the site, until dinner was ready. Then Jimmy would ask his mom for a little help. Once these children learned something, it stayed with them. We must remember that the study habits of these children, is largely due to the influence of the widow Mae Harkins.
Eileen Shepard called the boys to get cleaned up for dinner. John Shepard was already washed and waiting for the boys to join everybody at the table. When the boys entered the dining room, and took their places, George Simons said grace.
“Mom, Jay and I were trying to study the geometry problems on the internet, but we ran in to a problem. We need your help to show us how to do the problem. Then I think we can do the rest on our own.”
“Geometry, hey,” John Shepard said surpised. “Aren’t you a little young for geometry?”
“Dad, you said the same thing about Kathy studying the ebcyclopaedia Britannica. If we are taught properly how to do geometry, then we will have a jump start on middle school when we get there.”
“You boys have a couple of years yet, before you get to middle school,” John Shepard told the two boys.
“Mom, I don’t think he understands,” Jimmy told Eileen Shepard.
“John,” Eileen said looking directly at her husband. “Miss Addie is letting them study geometry on their computers before she gives her student real problems to do. Also, dear, they are going on ten years old. It is time they were studying something they can use as adults.”
“Yes, Eileen, I agree, but I still say they are just a tad too young for geometry.”
“Well, dear, when Miss Addie and I get done with them, they will know how to do geometry really well. I think you will be surprised at the learning abilities of your children. Remember, John, Jimmy and Kathy had these study and school work habits even in Saginaw.”
“Yes, Eileen, but, geometry.”
“You wait and see, John. They will ne learning this in a very short time.”
“Dad,” Jimmy added. “Miss Addie is giving us this whole week to study how geometry works, on our computers. “
Jay Simons sat next to his mother. Jimmy Shepard sat between his mother and dad. Kathy Shepard sat on the other side of her mother. Mrs. Simons sat between John Shepard and her husband.
As they passed the food around, Jimmy spoke.
“Mom, we tried working a geometry problem online, but we got a little confused. Would you help us, after dinner? Jay and I will help you clean up the dining room and help with the dishes.”
“That is very thoughtful, Jimmy,” Eileen Shepard answered her son. “But, I think Mrs. Simons and I have it covered. I will help you when we are finished. Why don’t you see if you can work the problem again?”
“Alright, mom, we will try.”
“Geometry? Aren’t these children a little young for that?” John Shepard asked Eileen.
“No, dear, they’re not. Remember, John, our children had these study habits even in Saginaw. You have to remember, too, dear, that these children study on their own.”
“Yes, I knowm but isn’t geometry way above their learning anilities?”
“Dad, you said the same thing about Kathy, when she was studying the encyclopaedia with Francine. Geometry, dad, is the same thing. Yes, it is new to us, but we had algebra last semester, and we all passed. We are smarter than you think we are.”
“Are you sure you’re only nine going on ten?” Asked John Shepard.
“Yes, dad, I’m sure,” Jimmy said, answering his father.
Chapter 2 – Jay and Jimmy study their online geometry.
When dinner was over, the two boys retired to Jimmy’s room. They brought up the geometry site they were on, and looked at the sample problem they tried working before dinner. Jimmy and Jay read the problem instructions again. They tried to make head or tails of what they were reading. Some of the bigger words sent the boys to the dictionary.
Jimmy had an unabridged Mrriam-Webster dictionary. It was a birthday gift from his father when he turned nine. Jimmy like this dictionnary because it also showed how to pronounce the word he was looking up, as well as the definition. Jimmy used this dictionary quite often.
About thirty minutes later, Eileen Shepard came to her son’s room.
“Alright, boys, let me see the trouble that you’re having with the problem that you are working on.” Eileen looked over the problem. She saw instantly why the boys were having trouble solving the problem.
As we saw before, geometry deals with shapes. Trapezoids, triangles, squares, rectangles, circles and other odd shapes and forms.
“I see the trouble that yoU’re having. This is what is called an isosceles triangle. Now, look at the problem.”
“I will be here while you selve the problem. It is actually all written out in the diagram. What I want you boys to do, is memorize this equation. See what it says in the instructions. You have to solve the problem algebraically. That means you have to use algebra to solve the problem. Since this problem is already solved, I want you to memorize how they got the answer.”
“Alright, mom,” Jimmy Shepard confirmed, so that his mother understood, that the boys understood what she had said. “So, in other words, mom, to solve Geometry, we have to use algebra.”
“Yes. Now, I am going back downstairs, if there is anything you don’t understand, come and get me.”
“We will, Mrs. Shepard,” Jay Simons added.
The boys looked at the diagram. They saw how the problem to arrive at the answer was done. They looked ober the triangle several times, so that they could memorize the formula. Then they decided to look for a isoleces triangle that did not have the answer all written out.
They didn’t find a triangle, but the found a circle. They had to find the circumference of the circle. This was going to be a challenge. The circle, unlike the triangle, actually has four sides. A top, bottom, and two sides. This would be like taking a pulse. You feel the beats of the pulse for fifteen seconds, then multiply by four. This was going to be a little more difficult. They had to arrive at the answer using algebra. Since Miss Addie’s class already had algebra the semester before, these geometry problems should not even be a problem.
In the diagram below, it sgows the circumference and diameter of a circle.
The distance around a circle is called the circumference. The distance across a circle through the center is called the diameter. is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. Thus, for any circle, if you divide the circumference by the diameter, you get a value close to . This relationship is expressed in the following formula:
In the formula below it shows how to find the circunference of a circle.
So what the boys were doing now, was attempting to find the circunference of a circle. The knew that that the Greek letter pi was simply written as 3.14/ Burt the numbers after the decimal point do go on forever. The bous knew pi and knew how to find the circumference of a circle. Now the boys knew that geometry was solced using algebra
Next chapter John and Eileen Shepard help the boys. The circle diagram and the formula did not copy.
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