TES Maths ROTW: Proportion and golden ratio

Craig Barton
15th March 2016

TES Maths Resource of the Week

Resource title: Proportion and golden ratio: Are you beautiful?

Resource author: dcp20

What is it?

I have dabbled several times over my teaching career with the golden ratio. I have used rectangles, buildings and bridges, but I have never quite stumbled upon a lesson that I am entirely happy with. Fortunately, now I have.

The idea of using the golden ratio to judge beauty may not be a new one, but the way this resource is structured, together with the supporting materials, makes it by far the best I have seen for delivering this fascinating area of mathematics. We have a starter, notes, examples, a clear worksheet, and plenty of photographs of well-known people to measure, calculate and analyse.

How can it be used?

The author explains that this resource was designed and used with a very able KS3 class. And indeed, I can see my top set Year 9s loving it. However, I can also see my bottom set Year 7s getting a lot out of it too. And I am a firm believer that achievement, or perceived ability, should not stop students from accessing so-called fun and interesting mathematics.

With a little bit of careful support – in particular with the measuring and rounding required – there is nothing stopping any age or ability of student getting lots out of this.

I feel morally obliged to offer the usual word of caution when it comes to passing judgement on beauty in such an objective way, but why not turn that on its head and have a discussion about it. Maths and ethics, working hand in hand! 


Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.


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