On
the morning of June 20, 1944, two weeks after D-Day, New York high
school students sitting for the Plane Geometry Regents exam were asked
to do the following construction:The
task posed almost 70 years ago was not difficult, but it also wasn’t
rote. It required the test-taker to make connections and to solve a
problem: to apply basic construction techniques to notions of similarity
and its theorems. Additionally, it required visualization skills:
before actually drawing the lines and arcs necessary to complete the
construction, students needed to envision the final picture.