Math Lesson: How is Math Beautiful?

Published by MrHonner on

momath imageMy latest contribution to the New York Times Learning Network is the lesson “How Is Math Beautiful? Exploring by Creating“.

This lesson is inspired by the new Museum of Mathematics.  After reading about the mission of the Museum and some of its exhibits, students are challenged to create their own exhibit of mathematics.  The goal is for students to explore, capture, and communicate the beauty of mathematics.

Some suggestions for exhibits are tilings of the plane, mathematical photography, and different kinds of mathematical sculpture.  What are some other suggestions that would excite students about sharing the beauty of mathematics?

Categories: NYTTeaching


Rob Taylor · April 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm

My suggestion would be relating music and mathematics in the minds of your students. Music is important to most* students whether it is listening on their way too and from school or while studying/procrastinating. My theory here is that showing them that their music is made up of math will encourage them to “see the mathematics” in other things around them. One way would be to fill glasses with different heights of water, and examine how changing the ratio of water:empty space produces higher of lower tones. You can have your students calculating the area of empty space and water filled space and see if they can find a ratio or correlation between the tones and the area of water/empty space in the glass. I’ve included an image of some early Pythagorean work on this subject to demonstrate what i am getting at.

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