Why I Love Geogebra

So… This week I was introduced to Geogebra as a part of my mathematics course. In short, it’s a computer program that allows you to do graph functions and constructions, though I have only skimmed the surface of what it can do. Apparently I can also do 3d geometry, but I have only spent a few hours on it so far.

So why do I love it?

Well, some of you would know that I absolutely hate geometry and I hate constructions; I’ve always been a numbers and algebra kind of mathematician. The reason why I absolutely love Geogebra is because it makes constructions an absolute walk in the park. Instead of reaching for a compass and staring at a problem for ages I can start playing about in Geogebra and it makes my life easy. And I love it when my life is made easy.

Secondly, it’s totally free. Totally. Free. And it works on Linux as well as Windows and Apple iOS (ewww). It also has an incredibly large array of languages available. I am trying to improve my French, for example, so my Geogebra is set in French, but I could easily put it in Japanese or Russian or Spanish or three different kinds of English (UK, US and AUS). Also, it can be run from a USB stick. You don’t need to install it if you don’t want to. You can literally run it from an external device just as easily as you would play a video.

However, this got me thinking. My teacher really loves geometry, but pushes algebra aside a little, whereas I do the exact opposite. What I am wondering is that if there is a connection; if numbers and algebra are linked, but geometry is a completely new ball park. I am already a living counter argument of stereotypes. Apparently if you’re good at mathematics, you’re also good at sciences. I hated sciences, but I loved humanities and languages alongside mathematics. I can’t do physics or chemistry. My brain just doesn’t work that way. However, I love getting into a tough mathematical problem, as long as it’s not geometry. Co-ordinate geometry is different, I can get that as it’s a combination of algebra and geometry, all I need to do is hold onto the algebra tightly and go on an adventure. The general idea that I am getting is that geometry is more innate, where algebra is more about problem solving and crunching out procedures. Also, it really does seem that there is a massive divide between geometry and algebra and I am not the only person who finds one easy whilst the other one is incredibly difficult.

I never got the attraction of geometry, how it all worked and often boiled down to a simple solution. It doesn’t excite me to spot something and then write a line or two to show why something is right. It doesn’t stimulate me to draw shapes that fit together, even when I consider the mathematical properties that dictate just why that happens. I feel academically accomplished when I work hard, not when I happen to spot something that works. Now, whilst some people may say that geometry does get complicated, the problem there is that by that point I’ve spent years subconsciously  giving it a lower priority whilst my algebra and number skills get all the practice that they need and then some more. Now, I’m not saying that geometry isn’t a challenge (quite the opposite for me. I can’t do it!) or that it isn’t important. It is an incredibly important part of mathematics and I understand that at the age of twenty three, but when I was younger I did not and so I did not care enough to try hard at it. My A* at GCSE was only earned because I aced everything and then scraped by on geometry, however I didn’t care as an A* was an A* at the end of the day.

I don’t have much to write about this week as we’ve done a small mountain of geometry (I hated it…) which is really difficult to demonstrate on a computer, but also partially because I’ve been really busy with my short stories for the Black Library which I managed to send off. I sent both off, one from my own personal email and one from my alias’s email, which have sucked up a huge amount of time. Hopefully they reply to at least one saying that they want to publish the whole short story, but if they reply to both then… Well… I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew, but we’ll see. I’m confident in my ability to do it! Fingers firmly crossed.

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