Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

Unique IMSA Math Course Teaches Students One Piece At a Time

IMSA Mathematics teacher Dr. Vince Matsko is always looking for unique ways to inspire and teach his students, other students and his professional colleagues about the beauty of mathematics.

An IMSA student proudly displays a four-frequency icosahedron. IMSA students work on building Dragonflies, a three-dimensional wooden sculpture by George Hart. Dr. Vince Matsko works with students in his Polyhedra and Geodesic Structures class. IMSA President Dr. Max McGee gets in on the fun in IMSA's Polyhedra and Geodesic Structures class.
Students find many uses for their Dragonflies creation!

Dr.  Matsko, who often hosts professional development workshops and presentations for mathematics educators, was recently elected to the Board of the Illinois Section of the Mathematics Association of America (ISMAA).   “I was glad to accept the nomination, especially as the Board was looking for someone to represent a secondary school perspective,” Matsko said.

Matsko’s passion for teaching his students about mathematics is evidenced in his Polyhedra and Geodesic Structures course, which focuses on the theory and design of polyhedra (three-dimensional figures with planar sides, such as a cube) and geodesic domes.   During the class, students design and construct the models, while learning spherical trigonometry and other areas of geometry as “time and student interest permits” including taxicab geometry, geometrical inversion, graph theory, coordinate geometry in three dimensions, linear algebra and four-dimensional polyhedra.

“It’s important that students see the applications of what they learn,” Matsko said.

Matsko and his IMSA class have been working with cool.hub.imsa and the Langton Institute for Young Mathematicians on the creation of these Polyhedra and Geodesic Structures.  

To learn more and see samples and photos of students’ work in progress, as well as finished work, visit http://coolhub.wordpress.com/ and http://staff.imsa.edu/~vmatsko/pgs.php#currentweek.