Lessons From A Toddler – How Many Sides Does A Pentagon Have?

by Josh Hanagarne on May 1, 2011

pentagon

A pentagon has five sides

One of the greatest unexpected pleasures of having a child has been that I get to get all my old toys out again. My mom saved just about everything. I’ve got my old action figures, Star Wars ships, Lincoln Logs, and Hot Wheels cars. My son likes all of these, but prefers the basics: a good old bouncing ball and a handful of blocks will keep him entertained for a long time. It was during a recent session with the blocks that he held up a yellow shape and said “Pentagon.”

I asked him how many sides does a pentagon have?

And he knew: five. He’s apparently been getting some good lessons while I’m at work.

He may not know that the word pentagon comes from the Greek word pente, not that it’s particularly important when you’re building a tower.

I’ve been listening to a series of lectures on my commute: Great Minds of The Western Intellectual Tradition, produced by The Teaching Company. A couple of days before our pentagon discussion I was listening to a professor lecture about Euclidean geometry–there was actually a fair amount of discussion about five-sided polygons and their relationship with circles.

The lesson in all of this, if there is one, is that I learn something every single time I get down on the floor to play with my son. I can learn something from anyone, at any age.

Josh

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