Denys and friends from Weyburn
Denys Hryshko was born in Weyburn, a small prairie town in Saskatchewan in Canada. Weyburn had a population of 10,000. Actually, for this part of Canada, it was a big town. It was about 60 km from the Canada-USA border from where there was a road that connected to Weyburn. Weyburn also had roads connecting to Moosejaw and several small towns nearby. Saskatchewan is part of the prairies with wheat, wild rice, barley, oats, rye and flax seed as the main crops. Since cereals are also dear to birds, the field also have scarecrows to keep them away. Because, the land is flat and you can see up to several kilometers away.
Plane, point and line
Denys and her friends Donna, John and Jim were playing after school. They were just running around and playing tag in the school playground. After about half an hour, they got tired. John and Jim started to argue whether the play ground was a plane. It did not seem to be curved anywhere. Denys, joked around and said actually this part of Saskatchewan was so flat that it could be a plane. There were no hills or nothing. Donna argued even if there were hills you could get a curved plane. Nobody listened to her but they all agreed that the school playground was a plane. Then they talked about other planes like a the top side of a piece of paper.
Donna: Do you know what is a point and how it is different from a line?
Jim: Look, I am standing here and John is over there. We are both points. If I were to walk over to John, I would make a line.
Donna: You are too big to be a point and so is John. Points are really tiny.
Jim: So, if John and were really, really…really tiny, would we become points?
Donna: I guess but you would have to be very small, smaller than an ant or even much smaller than a grain of rye?
Denys found a ball and threw it to John. She would throw the ball to John who would throw it back to her.
Denys: We are making a straight line when we throw the ball to each other.
Donna: No. When you throw the ball, it goes up and then comes down. John throws it harder. His ball doesn’t go up and down. He makes more of a straight line than you do. Straight line is the shortest distance between two points.
It was getting late and they were all hungry. Denys said: Straight line or curved line. I am going home. Mom is making perogies.
See the picture (Fig. G1.1) for a curved line and a straight line connecting two points.
There is no challenge with this story. Take a pencil and tap it onto a paper to make lots of points. Join some of them with lines. See how many of your lines are straight. Have fun.