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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Author: Edwin A. Abbott
Illustrator:
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Copyright: 1884/2004
ISBN: 978-0-7607-5587-7
Number of Pages: 154
Ohio Standards Alignment: Grades 8–12

This book contrasts the 3-dimensional world we live in with the 2-dimensional world we perceive. The author clarifies this dimensional discrepancy by having readers imagine living in a 2-dimensional Flatland where they can perceive only 1 dimension. What would life be like in such a world? This book is science fiction, written and set in Victorian times, when women were not considered equal to men.  There were also distinct social "classes" within the population in Victorian England. The Introduction and Preface to the book discuss the discriminatory attitudes and assumptions of people in that time period.  ORC believes that teachers can take advantage of this classic story to promote a good discussion of the influence of social attitudes on academic performance and career opportunities. 


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How to Use This Book
Highlights and Insights
Related ORC Resources
Ohio Standards

 


How to Use This Book

  • The introduction to this book by the teacher should include a discussion of the time period in which the book was written and the attitudes of people in that time period toward social class and women in mathematics.
  • There is a movie made from the book that would be a good introduction to the story. Or the movie could be used as a culmination of reading the book, asking students to compare the book to the movie.
  • A project for this book could be to identify all of the mathematical terms in the book. Students could be asked to compare and contrast how the terms are used in the book and how they are used in the real world.

Highlights and Insights

  • This book would most likely be used in a high school Geometry class. The in-depth consideration of dimension goes beyond the usual discussion of dimension at the high school level.
  • Students who are gifted and talented would especially benefit from this book. Some Geometry students could be confused or frustrated by the ideas and/or the old-fashioned style of writing.
  • The concepts of angle measure and perspective can be more clearly understood through the reading and illustrations.
  • The mathematics in this book could help the non-visual learner become more clear on geometric concepts.

Related ORC Resources

Mathematical Models with Applications: Two-Point Perspective Drawing
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ORC# 5825
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 9–12
Professional Commentary: Students use interactive geometry exploration software (GES) to create a two-point perspective drawing. Students explore geometric transformations of the model of a rectangular prism viewed from different perspectives....
Straight Lines in 3-Space
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ORC# 9787
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 9–12
Professional Commentary: This applet features five 3-D diagrams, each of a line in coordinate space. Each diagram can be rotated to show the line in reference to all planes in an x-y-z system....
Shadows
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ORC# 1105
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports -- Technologies
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 6–8
Professional Commentary: This applet helps students visualize the shapes of shadows cast by a cube with a light coming from different angles. The activity is limited in scope but shows how a cube could cast a hexagonal shadow....
Plot Plans and Silhouettes
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ORC# 1104
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports -- Technologies
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 6–8
Professional Commentary: This activity is all about visualizing 3-dimensional objects from 2-dimensional representations. Students are asked to figure out the structure of a building based on its silhouettes as seen from the front and side....
Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings 3: Building Using the Front-Right-Top View
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ORC# 7886
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 1–2, 7
Professional Commentary: Students explore drawing the front-right-top view when given a three-dimensional figure built from cubes. Conversely, students also explore building a three-dimensional figure when given the front-right-top view....

Ohio Standards

Geometry and Spatial Sense Standard