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Geometry of the Earth and Universe Labs: From the Classroom to Current
Research

Sarah J Greenwald
While geometry means measuring the earth, too often it is presented in an
axiomatic way, divorced from reality and experiences. A segment on the geometry
of the earth and universe stretches the imagination while developing
visualization skills and highlighting real-world applications of geometry and
connections to art, philosophy, physics, astronomy and geography. This segment
can be aimed at students with no math background, at graduate students in
geometry and topology, or at any level student in between.

We will explore
a series of labs on the geometry of the earth and universe that have been used
in a junior honors seminar for undergraduate mathematics majors on the
applications of geometry. Modified versions of these labs have successfully
been implemented in a liberal arts mathematics class and in courses for
teachers (available at
http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/talks/earthanduniverse.html). Each lab
develops visualization skills while taking advantage of various technologies
and manipulatives.