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Geometry - A window into a language of universal truths

As the first block of the new school year, the grade 6-7 class wholeheartedly embraced the study of geometry and their first experiences formally using geometric tools.

For me, witnessing the transformation that this work enabled in the students was fascinating. For many of the students, having practised form drawing balance, symmetry, and beauty is not new to them, it has simply become part of their world. Having done freehand geometry in their 5-6 year, they were already familiar with most of the basic terminology. However, the sixth-grade geometry block introduces a new and different level of experience for the student. Their work is now a result of them discovering and implementing real laws of the universe and becoming conscious of the innate beauty and freedom that exists within order.

These concepts resonate with young middle schoolers for several reasons that didn’t exist so strongly in them just a short time ago. They are more ready than ever to observe things more deeply and to contemplate what their observations might mean, or lead to.

To look at how the laws of the universe take form through geometry, we first turned to the endless examples of geometrical shapes in the natural world around us. We thought about how the earliest humans would have been able to observe the perfect circles shown in the irises of their friends' eyes or the shape of the full moon, but how they were not yet able to reproduce them. We then looked into the stories of the ancient geometers and how their discoveries of the laws that govern all of these geometric shapes are unwavering and true. We noticed how much our world today is shaped by this development in human history (it was not possible to even get close to counting how many perfect human-made circles or right angles surrounded us in just one room!) With this knowledge of universal/geometric laws and some basic tools, the students were able to create highly structured forms.

Within these forms, the students were also able to explore their individual creativity, realizing that there could be an endless amount of unique and beautiful variations within the same construction. There is great comfort and satisfaction in experiencing the structure and beauty in the laws of the universe! I had never seen the students more focused or fascinated with their own creations. They took great pride in their work, knowing that they were now capable of reproducing in their morning lessons what were once the basis of the most remarkable and fascinating achievements of humankind!

This connection to humanity past and present, and to the overarching natural laws of the world around us, brought with it a new level of maturity, presence, and calm within the classroom, and it was truly fascinating to witness.

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