Mathematics and Nature

NATURE! Who doesn’t love and admire the beauty of nature all around us? I even ignored the word mathematics when I see the word nature… just joking!

There is a reason why we usually feel more connected to nature than mathematics; it’s because nature is something which we can feel and see but mathematics is an abstract subject. When we even talk about numbers they are abstract, we cannot see two (2) but we can only understand it with reference to some objects or things in nature. For example, two bottles, two trees, two pens, etc. Mathematics is abstract in nature but that doesn’t make it boring, uninteresting, unenjoyable, or even difficult, it’s the way it is taught in schools that makes it so. There are many interventions which can make mathematics interesting, enjoyable and at the same time easy to understand. One of them is connecting mathematics with nature or we can say, showing the beauty of mathematics in nature.

Mathematics is visible in nature like in sunflower, pine-cones, honeycombs, trees, fishes, faces in form of different shapes or numbers, etc. If such aspects are highlighted and students could figure out such beauty, then it would not be that difficult for students to relate to mathematics and understand it better.

To be precise let’s take an example of  π(pi). While teaching circumference and area of circle, π is introduced to students as a constant having a value of 3.14 or 22/7. But why the value of π is 3.14 or 22/7 is rarely told to them. To help students understand this, students could be given freedom to explore. Like, they could be given something circular and asked to wrap a rope around the object to measure its circumference, then measure diameter of that object and divide circumference with diameter. After that, observations could be shared and students could analyze and construct their knowledge while connecting with nature.

And then they would get sense of what Galileo Galilei said,

“Nature is written in mathematical language.”


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