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The Math Trailblazer

Math teacher, discipline coordinator, volleyball coach, marathoner

Every teacher loves a challenge, but math teacher Manfredo Gellert had a doozy: how could he make geometry relevant in the minds of his 9th and 10th graders? Better yet, how could he make it fun?

Manfredo found the answer in a sophisticated software program called the Geometer’s Sketchpad. The program is one of the most widely-used educational technologies for school mathematics in the world, and has been recommended by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics.

Thanks to the Annual Fund, Wildwood was able to send Manfredo to a conference that featured the software. He continued his learning through an online workshop, joining teachers from around the globe in discussions about the program’s functions and applications. After he mastered the Sketchpad himself, Manfredo introduced it to his students.

“The Geometer’s Sketchpad is a very interactive way of learning mathematics,” Manfredo says. “It brings to life words and pictures and makes geometry more meaningful.”

The program also has allowed Manfredo to create math projects based on real-world situations. This was no small feat, since Manfredo says geometry traditionally doesn’t lend itself to a project-based approach. “My challenge was to find ideas and bring them back to class,” he says.

He found support through his newly formed network of Sketchpad associates, and has introduced several hands-on projects for his students to tackle. For example, students design a clock using conic sections. In another project, they create a work of art using geometric equations.

With the Sketchpad, students can “draw” geometric shapes in various dimensions. They can move the shapes, slice them up, and make them wiggle. It turns out there’s a lot to learn from a dancing triangle.

“The kids really have fun with it,” Manfredo says. “Before, geometry was dull. Now, they can appreciate a very sophisticated integration of technology and math.”

The Annual Fund makes it possible for Manfredo and countless other Wildwood teachers to attend important conferences and workshops every year. You can support this work by making your gift to the Annual Fund. Click here to make your gift or pledge today.

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