hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,

Oh my . . . so the coefficient to the R in that last problem works out to be 0.61803399, or the inverse of the golden ratio. The homework says the number should be familiar, find the decimal, and find the inverse if you need a hint. So one will get 0.61803399 and 1.61803399. This didn't click right away for me as the golden ratio, but I did recognize that the decimal parts were the same, and then it clicked. (My excuse is we never talked about this, and the only time I'd been exposed to the golden ratio was in Donald in Mathmagic Land.)

Anyway, I start asking her some more questions like "so did you talk about the greeks and architecture maybe?" (Since that's where the golden ratio is usually seen, and that's how most people introduce it in the classroom.) And she responds "we talked about the parthenon a bit" and I'm thinking "YES! We're on the right track" and ask the follow up question "did you talk about how the sides were spaced or anything?" and she says no. :( Anyway, in the end, I mention the Mathmagic land video, which she vaguely remembers seeing in sixth grade, but she can't remember the golden ratio. I at least guide her to the point where one realizes the decimal parts of the number are equivalent, and then she says she'll ask her teacher about it (since that's what the worksheet says.)

So the question is, did her teacher mention the golden ratio when talking about the Parthenon and she just missed it? Or did the teacher ramble about the Parthenon and never mention the golden ratio (though one wonders why else a math teacher would talk about the Parthenon.)

Anyway, the homework I've been helping her with is pretty decent - some of the directions are written at a bit of a high level, but it's obvious that the teacher enjoys the math, and the wonder of numbers (i.e. the golden ratio) but I'm not sure that the problems he assigns are accomplishing showing this wonder to the students. He had another sheet that I liked that was just exploring the area of regular polygons, using triangles, and showing how eventually you get to pi*r^2 as n gets larger and larger. Again, the concept was kind of neat, but the way he works them, and the hints he gives probably doesn't work for most students.

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