The first ten of 34 chapters of "An intriguing, challenging and emotional mathematics adventure" as described by one of my peers.
When I first started teaching, I encountered the anonymous phrase: "The only thing that a man can possibly do or say that concerns mankind is to tell the story of his love." It took me a while to internalize the meaning of this phrase, and what I have not been able to articulate verbally, I believe I have conveyed as the essence of my story in The Lost City of Ithmametcas.
I have written this book so it could be used as an enrichment resource in a mathematics classroom, or as a stand-alone novel that invites the reader to participate in the mathematical challenges at the end of each chapter. These challenges, which are incorporated into the novel's story line for each corresponding chapter, distinquish this novel from any other resource that I have encountered.
Furthermore, I have attempted to reveal the emotions that are associated with problem solving from first encountering a mathematical challenge through the "aha" moment to the sense of accomplishment that accompanies a successful solution. I have presented these steps from both a student's perspective as well as from a teacher's perspective.
Most of all, I have tried to intertwine mathematics and art through my characters and their path of self-discovery.
This adventure story begins with Aleja, a high school senior in Albuquerque, New Mexico, having recurrent dreams about finding a lost city. She enlists the help of her best friend, Peter who had moved to Albuquerque four years earlier from Wisconsin, to help her find meaning to her dreams.
Aleja next encounters a vision involving her grandfather, Chuck, while she and Peter are inside of a Medicine Wheel Memorial at their high school. They recruit the help of her grandfather, who is a math teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the three of them begin their quest to find this lost city. Their initial search leads them to a couple of National Parks in the Southwest, where Aleja and Chuck use their mathematical talents and Peter applies his artistic skills to discover additional clues in their hunt to find the lost city.
In the meantime, Aleja experiences additional dreams that now involve her deceased great grandmother, Itzel, who is of Mayan descent. Through dreams, Itzel reveals the name of this ancient city as Ithmametcas, as well as additional clues to reveal its hidden location. After the final major character, Ralph who is a successful business owner from Syracuse, New York, is introduced as Chuck's best friend, the four of them embark on an ambitious journey that leads then to Chichen Itza in Mexico and ultimately into the deep jungles of Mexico.
The success of their search depends upon the individual strengths of each of the four companions and their ability to overcome the many obstacles that they encounter while trekking through the dense jungle. In the process, their challenges create an unbreakable bond that unites them even though Aleja and Peter are separated by two generations from Chuck and Ralph.