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Mathematical Brooding over an Egg

Andre Heck (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Author Information

André Heck is project manager at the Faculty of Science of the Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His research area is the application of ICT in mathematics and science education. You may contact him by e-mail, or visit his personal home page for more information about his projects and research interests.


Algebra and geometry can be brought to life with dynamic geometry software that allows the use of digital images. I will illustrate this statement by discussing how mathematical techniques, digital images, and dynamic geometry software can be used to analyze a real-world situation originating from poultry science. The topic is mathematical modeling of the shape of an egg, where the underlying question is: "What is the volume and surface area of a hen?s egg?". Although the practical investigation is meant for students at pre-university level or at undergraduate level, I will not present a model lesson on mathematical egg shapes. I will only discuss various modeling approaches using algebraic, geometric, and regression techniques, which are also applicable in similar investigative work, and I will discuss how dynamic geometry software, and GeoGebra in particular, can be applied as a modeling tool.

Technologies Used in This Article

  • This article uses Java (1.4.2 or later) for several interactive applets created with GeoGebra. You may need to install or upgrade the Java plug-in.
  • The following HTML symbols are used: − (minus), ′ (prime). If these do not display, you may need to upgrade your browser.
  • The section about easy data collection in GeoGebra and regression analysis uses frames and Javascript.


  • digital images
  • analytic geometry
  • dynamic geometry software (GeoGebra)

Publication data

  • Published August, 2008
  • Copyright © 2008, André J.P. Heck

Article Link

Andre Heck (Universiteit van Amsterdam), "Mathematical Brooding over an Egg," Convergence (February 2010), DOI:10.4169/loci002842