When Geometry Becomes Dirty April 15, 2009

When Geometry Becomes Dirty

Advice for new teachers: Make sure you run through a lesson yourself before presenting it in a high school classroom.

Here’s essentially how my Geometry lesson went the other day.

Me: Class, what is the name of this polyhedron?


Class: A square pyramid!

Me: Very good. And what polygons do you see when a square pyramid is pulled apart and we make a two-dimensional “net”?


Class: A square and four triangles!

Me: Very good. Now what is the name of this polyhedron?


Class: A hexagonal prism!

Me: Very good. And what polygons do you see when a hexagonal prism is pulled apart and we make a two-dimensional “net”?


Class: [Stifling laughter…]

Me: Oh, dear god, what have I done…

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  • Trina Hoaks


  • Vincent

    The maker of that prop should have known to put the hexagons near the middle, or even not attached to the same rectangle.

    (see, my mad geometry skilzzz)

  • Luther Weeks

    Don’t try home economics. You might find yourself pealing a banana!

  • That is absolutely hilarious. You’re kind of my hero now.

  • Ha! Awesome!

  • Kiera

    Teehee, it looks like a wang.

  • Cafeeine

    Actually, the situation might have been saved if the thing was turned around 180 degrees. The ‘T’ connotation would overcome the penile countenance.

  • Tim Van Haitsma

    Your tribute to Teabagging Day?

  • I would characterize that as a wangular prism.

  • you likely made their day as much as you’ve made mine

  • Erik

    Unfortunately, that’s the closest to sex education a lot of kids get these days

  • Will

    You’ve probably just made one or two young mathematicians ;>

  • bill

    ah hemant, why is it always the geometry teachers? here is a direct quote from my geometry teacher from sophomore year of high school, i believe she was reminiscing about slide rules:

    Mrs. Quinn: “My dad had one, it was six inches long.”

    (chuckling from students)

    Mrs. Quinn: “My husband had one, it was 12 inches long. I wish I could bring it in to show you.”


    the part that made it funniest was the fact that my teacher was a very proper lady and was completely unaware of the innuendo in her statement. we at first tried to conceal our laughter, but after the second statement such a feat was impossible. so as the entire class was in an uproar, she stood up at the front with an uncomfortable smile and confused look.

  • MathMike

    I have that same set in my classroom. The cylinder is even worse! I try to hold one or both of the bases back when I open the prism or the cylinder. You would think that the manufacturer would have put one of the bases at the other end of the opened faces.

  • Hank Bones

    Filthy math teachers. When learning about how to manipulate parabolas, my teacher would make a big show about drawing negative parabolas that had been translated upward and right. Then he would make big circles around the X-intercepts and draw an arrow to the “tip” of the curve. (The arrow tended to be curved so as to look like a stream of liquid.)

    Math should be banned from public school curriculums. It’s destroying fragile young minds!

  • Hemant, at least you de-capitalized “god,” but seriously, man, you need to break that habit… 🙂

  • Richard Wade

    It could have been much worse. That net could have several configurations. For instance, if the hexagons were attached to the second or third rectangle from one end, it would look like a cross: —-|-

  • Mr. Vorhias wrote:

    I would characterize that as a wangular prism.

    For it to be a wangular prism, wouldn’t it have to be a prism with two opposing, wang-shaped faces? Just saying.

  • Peter L


  • Roe

    See I look at that and think you’re just keeping them interested. If making geometry and math all about the naughty bits keeps them interested then why not!

  • CybrgnX

    If this had been a college class you could have put a wide-eyed inocent look on your face and said-girls you can see by the boys laughter what they would like to get their hands on. The told the boys..you can see form their laughter what the girls would like form you. When they get all pissed and indignant you can look at them with the same wide-eyed inocent look and say …What the problem I was talking about unfolded hexagonal prisms which is what this class was about. What where you thinking??? And put the embarrasing ball back into their hands. Yes I did something similar in my class and they stopped their silliness, well for a while anyway.

  • Well, I would bet that they all walked away from the class with an understanding of the surface geometry of a hexagonal prism. Who cares if that understanding comes down to “pixelated wang?”

    Though, as a side note, I will use this opportunity to say I love the fact you’re a math teacher.

  • Ha! At least they stifled their laughter. Looking back at my high school math classes, we would have died laughing. And then reminded you about it every day for the entire year =P

  • Mark Webster

    I’m with Jen on this one. In our school, that would have been on you like white on rice for the rest of your life. I would STILL be ribbing my teachers about that.

  • Zadius

    Reminds me of when my calculus teacher told us that ‘VAJ’ is a good mnemonic device for remembering that velocity is 1st derivative, acceleration is the 2nd and “jerk” is the 3rd derivative.

  • Haha this was great! Reminded me of a time when I was playing pong and had four cups left, so I asked for a 2-1-1 re-rack. Looked very similar to your last picture, but I didn’t realize that until it was too late!

  • Why did you say, “Dear God?”

  • MrMarkAZ

    Would that be a priapism, teacher?

  • I’m reminded of my high school days, and all the odd teachers I had. Let me tell you – not all teachers go “Oh, dear god, what have I done…” when inadvertently showing the students something…

    My Swedish teacher provided us with a lot of entertainment once, when he was going to show us a movie. He had brought a tape that he had found in some cabinet that the teachers had filled with various VHS-tapes, many of them evidently recorded at home from TV broadcasts.

    I don’t remember what the movie in question was, but it was one of those home-recorded ones, and I very clearly remember his reaction to what was actually on the tape. It was the correct movie that the text on the tape said it would be, sure. But not right from the start…

    You see, older VHS-players (if you still remember such an antiquated system) would rewind a tape as far as it could go, and start playing and recording from the very beginning of the tape. Newer players would slow down and stop a tiny bit before the end (to reduce strain on the tape, I guess). So if you took a cassette and recorded it on an old machine, then recorded over that on a new one, you would have a fraction of a second of the old material left in the beginning.

    You would never see this again, unless you play the tape on an old player again. Like the one in our classroom…

    And, as you’ve probably already guessed at this point of my overly long story, the tape started with hardcore pornography. Only a split second, but unmistakable. And our teacher was in flames. Not from anger or embarrassment, but glee.

    He shouted “What was that?” and started playing the absolute start of the tape over and over to make sure that we had seen what we thought we saw. Once we were sure that this was some teacher’s old porn-tape he was positively giddy, wanting to find out which teacher had brought that tape.

    It was a fun day.

  • Bill

    This was a high-school geometry lesson?
    I don’t remember ever memorizing the names of shapes in geometry. What I remember is proving theorems, i.e., getting some practice in thinking.

    To paraphrase Feynman: You have told us nothing about polyhedrons; you have told us something about humans: what humans call the polyhedrons.

  • This was a high-school geometry lesson?

    Not the whole thing. Just a lead-in to the real lesson 🙂

  • That is too funny.

  • Aramis

    If this is related to sex, how about the stretch-out view of a cylinder?

  • Beasty

    Im sorry but thats sad
    my teacher used those same shapes and no one was realy immature about it

  • Amanda M.

    I did that exact thing last year! LMAO

  • That is kind of funny, but hey as long as it communicate the intention, everything else is just for the laughs

  • Eric

    I had a similar experience drawing a giant AND gate on the board.

    Here’s a picture of four AND gates:

  • That is great. Hopefully they will keep paying attention… at least for another joke.

  • Femnist

    Of course, vulgarity, like beauty, lies in the beholder’s eyes.

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