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Geometry: A Self-Teaching Guide

Steve Slavin and Ginny Crisonino
John Wiley
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Student Helps
[Reviewed by
Kara Shane Colley
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Geometry: A Self-Teaching Guide gives the reader a basic course in high school geometry. The text covers standard topics like the midpoint and distance formula, angles, polygons, triangles, circles, perimeters, area, volume, and conic sections. For the most part, it assumes no math background except arithmetic, though a few sections use algebraic concepts, like factoring and completing the square.

The text is most appropriate for high school students that need a study guide, homeschoolers that want a basic geometry handbook or adults that want a refresher course. As the title denotes, it is a self-teaching guide and as such features a pre-test in each chapter, lots of worked examples, and post-tests to diagnose your progress. The guide also fosters problem-solving skills as most chapters include a section on applications where students must process and assimilate all of the concepts learned in the chapter.

A flaw in the text is that often the authors present formulas and clearly explain how to use the formulas, but don’t explain where they come from or why they work. I am not expecting rigorous proofs or derivations of formulas, but an informal explanation of where, for example, the distance formula comes from or a diagram showing why (n–2) x 180° gives the sum of angles in a polygon, may help students remember and understand the concepts better.

Slavin and Crisonino encourage you to “work your way through this book problem by problem.” This is entirely possible as the prose is readable and the problems are carefully explained line by line. The guide offers a concise and structured way to learn basic geometry.

Kara Shane Colley studied physics at Dartmouth College and math education at Teachers College. She has taught math and physics to middle school, high school, and community college students in the U.S., the Marshall Islands, and England . Currently, She is volunteering aboard the Halfmoon, a replica of Henry Hudson’s 17th century ship, docked in Albany, NY. Contact her at

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