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  • Writer's picturescott kim

Superteacher (1998)

SYMMETRY. Reflection about a vertical axis. Looks the same in a mirror.

INSPIRATION. Commissioned by Key Curriculum Press, publisher of my book Inversions, for use at the 1999 annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

STORY. Key Curriculum Press is a leading publisher of innovative high school mathematics books, videos, software and other materials. Outstanding titles include the textbook Discovering Geometry, the software Geometer's Sketchpad, and the kit Exploring Math Through Puzzles, which includes enough pieces to make 54 puzzles.

Every year they dress up their product catalog with a different wacky theme. This year the theme is "Be a Math Action Hero". Scattered throughout the catalog are such mathematical superheroes as Captain Chaos, Deductiva and Calculadora, drawn in comic book style.

For their trade show booth at the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, they asked me to create a mirror symmetrical version of the word "Superteacher" as a card to give away to conference attendees. Only the left half of the word is printed on the folding card; the right half is a mirror that lets you view the other half of the word, and see the real math action hero: yourself.

I usually prefer rotational over reflective symmetry, but this word works well, with the split nicely placed in the middle of the capital T. If you were to wear a shirt with this word emblazoned across the chest, it would read the same in a mirror.

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