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Beautiful Reflections
February 8, 2012

Mirror mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?

Beauty is often linked closely with the symmetry of the face meaning there are many applications in the classroom!

Reflecting faces

For the hook to my reflection lesson I created a short investigation into beauty of the rich and famous! Some stars with a symmetrical face (Angelina Jolie) and some stars not so fortunate (Wayne Rooney and Susan Boyle).

Find a portrait photo of the star (or pupils can investigate their own face) and paste the photo into Power Point three times. The first gets left as it is, the second they crop to just show the left side of the face, the third the right side of the face.

Then make a copy of each half face, select one of the half faces and in the picture tools go to rotate and flip horizontal. They can then compare the reflected celebrities with the original! Here is a Power Point of some of the famous faces I looked at with my year 7 class.

On-line web cams like this one are great for school laptops with built-in cameras, pupils can look at their face using the symmetry camera. Be warned this is not something to do at the beginning of your lesson!

Substituting into expressions

On the topic of beauty this is another activity I use when studying substitution into expressions. Students have to measure lengths on the faces and sub into the expressions, the closer to 1 their answers the more ‘attractive’ the face (the expressions are all based on the golden ratio). I ask them to find the mean of all their answers and then order the celebrities. Measuring lengths, substitution, calculator skills, surds, averages and ordering decimals, so much Maths and they won’t even realise! You could of course ask them to do it with their own faces but in my experience this quickly descends into chaos!

You could even start with this video from the BBC or this video all about the golden ratio presented by none other than Carol Vorderman!

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Sharon Derbyshire

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