Psssst….want a good advice on investment this season? Well, the smart money is not on gold. But on geometry boxes, which during the school opening season perhaps sells a few lakh units daily, with my daughter alone accounting for a few hundreds of them. They don’t seem to calculate averages for these things. But my guess is that a single student uses anywhere up to 1083 geometry boxes through his life as a student in school.
Why is the geometry box so central to today’s school education? Okay, you didn’t ask the question. But still read on.
There is no more handy educational tool for a young student than the humble geometry box, especially since it contains the most useful implement to scholastic life, the ‘Divider’.
After years and years of geometry classes, no student is still any wiser as to how to use the ‘Divider’ as an actual mathematical aid. Yet, it has to be the Divider which is most coveted by students for the simple reason it has pointed needle-sharp ends. For young students, this is godsend, as it can be helpful in myriad imaginative ways, but nothing more inventive than when they immortalize their current crush by carving the name on their study table. Were it not for this wonderful practical diversion, mathematics classes would be more unbearable than they are actually.
The divider also helps students to scrawl out obscene words on teachers or engrave choice expletives for no particular reason. Most of such students in India, I suppose, are now leading a productive and contented life as commenters on the ‘Rediff’ site.
With its sharp, piercing ends, the Divider has the potential to cause immense bodily damage, especially when handled by impetuous young boys. So if the educationists still persist with the Divider, it means only one thing: They are far stupider than we imagine them to be.
The geometry box also involves the Setsquares, which, as the name correctly implies, are triangular in shape. Along with the Loch Ness Monster and T Rajendher, the Setsquares have stumped humanity with their enigmatic mystery. Till date, no one is actually clear on the precise need for the Setsquares in real schoolroom situations.
Conduct this simple test on yourself: Ask yourself the question: ‘Have I ever, truly ever, felt the need for a setsquare for classroom assignments?’ If you answer ‘yes’ to the question, then you can be sure that you are lying. As a general information, I must venture that this is first question in any narco analysis.
On the other hand, the use of the Protractor, which is another of the constituents of the geometry box, is clear —- it aids students in lining out exact angles when they are carving in some interesting human body parts on their desks. Perhaps concerned that the protractor is actually practical in its performance, the braintrusts behind educational tools thought it fit to mark up on the protractor the degrees of the angles in reverse order, too. This has led to many interesting situations, including, I guess, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Compass is a convenient widget to curve up exact circles at all times, by which I mean, on occasions when the student actually manages to tightly screw and hold in place the pencil. But if it is plumbing, it has to leak, and if it is the compass, the pencil has to come unhinged. This is the real Pythagoras theory that defines the core of geometry.
Anyway, if by some miracle of nature, the student pulls off what he or she thinks is the perfect circle, the geometry teacher will eventually break the news: Technically, there can never, I mean never, be a perfect circle in this world. It is fair to say that the compass was so named because it makes all a, well, complete ass.
The geometry box also contains the humble scale, which the Americans term as ‘ruler’ possibly due to the fact it will be too stupid even by their standards to call their ruler a scale.
Geometry boxes are most essential when a student is preparing statistics-filled graph sheets. During those moments of creative challenge and artistic experiment, a student cannot afford to be lax. He or she has to be smart enough to put the geometry box to its best use possible: That is, use it as a paperweight and prevent the graph sheets from being scattered around.
Anyway, graph sheets are vital to learning in schoolrooms for the easy convenience of conveying mathematical truths in a manner that involves the fundamentals of modern-day teaching: Killing time.
Naturally, this has found favour among today’s corporate corridors, especially with the MBA-type honchos, who fall back on the clarity that PowerPoint presentations bring with them to convey their names. You ban PowerPoint presentations and meetings, I think, you have saved the world 23,00009,8877,5679,85700 of manhours. Of course, you also send 23,00009,8877,5679,85700 men out of work. As you can see, graphs are needed to save the world from a deep economic crisis.
Mankind, right since the caveman age, has been more comfortable with pictorial, graphical representations for obvious reasons. You put a photo of a woman who has left nothing to imagination. Alongside, you also put a few imaginatively brilliant erotic lines. You know which will attract attention? Well, I don’t know, but you will certainly draw the attention of the police and be arrested for running pornography business.
The point is pornography is fun. NO. Sorry, I meant to say graph assignments are fun especially since numbers confuse people more than words do. That’s why economists and the Finance Minister use them.
One of these days, I must also attempt the graphic version of Cranks Corner with dazzling Venn diagrams and impressive pie charts. And if you ask me whether I will use the Divider at least then, well, thanks. Actually, no thanks. I’m comfortable with Johnson’s earbuds.