Symmetry in Design

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The word symmetry suggests balance, proportion, and harmony - both in aspects of the natural world and in human creations of art, design, music, dance, and architecture. In this class, we will consider four types of symmetry that can occur or be illustrated on a flat surface. Symmetry as pattern points us to Ian Stewart's work in which he argues that mathematics is a formal system for studying nature's patterns. Symmetry as cultural expression points us to the study of ethnomathematics, mathematical thinking embodied in the daily lives of all cultures. Concepts will be introduced in the classroom "math lab," and explored beyond the classroom through reading and interpreting articles, and through observation of the world around us, the construction of new symmetry patterns, and analysis of symmetry patterns through the language of mathematics.