What’s the point?

One of my favorite activities is to have students draw a point on a paper and see how many distinct lines they can draw through the point.  I usually set it up as a competition to see who can get the most lines inside of 15 seconds or so.  On your mark, get set, GO! Pencils start flying.

line through one point

Then to bring the lesson home, I say, “Alright, flip the paper over and put two points on the page.  Now we’re gonna see who can get the most lines through both points.” 

Ready, set, GO!

They get the first line fast.  Then they panic as they move the ruler and pencil searching for that elusive second line.  Most of ’em end up looking something like this:

confused look

I tease them a bit and we all get a good chuck out of it. I know, I know.  It’s not nice to take advantage of these trusting impressionable children.  But I don’t care who you are, that thar’s funny!


And, they never forget it.


12 Responses to “What’s the point?”

  1. 1 Matt Townsley September 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Outstanding! Who would’ve known that “two points determine a line.” 🙂 Great work and thanks for sharing.

  2. 2 Sarah September 8, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Because it’s been a while since I’ve said it, I love your writeups of these lessons. And currently no ideas on how to improve this one.

  3. 3 David Cox September 8, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Ah, I appreciate the encouragement. I try to take what they give me.

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  1. 1 The point « Webmaths Trackback on October 14, 2009 at 2:53 am
  2. 2 Mathing… » GeoGebra Applet Request – Plane from 3 Points in Space Trackback on August 17, 2010 at 11:17 pm

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