Get Seminar - February 19th, 2021


The geometry of sunlight: An examination of naturally occurring parallel lines and the mathematical investigations they inspire

Friday, February 19, 2021
11:00 am PT | 12:00 pm MT | 1:00 pm CT | 2:00 pm ET
Presenter: Justin Dimmel

Summary: Sunlight provides a natural, renewable source of (effectively) parallel lines. In this talk, I discuss a collection of problems and a set of activities that use sunlight to engage students in geometry and trigonometry. The collection of problems was inspired by the history of nautical science and reclaims, for geometry, topics that are typically encountered in Earth science or social studies courses, e.g., the seasons, latitude/longitude. The set of activities concerns a geometric definition of multiplication and the realization of that definition in a physical tool. I consider how sunlight provides a contextualization for geometry that is relevant to and accessible by all learners.

Registration Closed

Duration: 60 minutes

Format: Online seminar via Zoom web meeting software with questions and discussion. Detailed instructions for joining the seminar will be emailed to registered participants.


Justin Dimmel

Justin Dimmel is an assistant professor of mathematics education and instructional technology at the University of Maine. Dimmel completed both an MS in mathematics (2013) and a Ph.D. in mathematics education (2015) at the University of Michigan. Prior to pursuing his graduate degrees, Dimmel worked for five years as a mathematics educator and school administrator at independent, adventure-based boarding schools in Massachusetts (The Shackleton School) and the Bahamas (The Island School), where he gained experience with place-based education. At the University of Maine, Dimmel leads the immersive mathematics in rendered environments (IMRE) laboratory. His recent work investigates student interactions with diagrams that are inscribed in immersive spaces.