Despite how it often comes across to high school students, geometry is anything but meaningless. In fact, geometry means “earth measure.” It’s a branch of math that helps us measure God’s creation, from the microscopic to the vast distances of space.
I recently had the privilege to develop a geometry eCourse (available on MasterBooksAcademy.com). While it was the most challenging eCourse I’ve developed (creating slides to visually walk through proofs involving different shapes step by step required more than just walking through equations), it was also the most fun to work on. I was blown away over and over again by how geometry sings the Creator’s praises and proves a useful tool. Here are some examples, based on Harold Jacobs’ Geometry: Seeing, Doing, Understanding curriculum and the eCourse I developed to go alongside it (the eCourse both walks through the material and expands on the ideas in the textbook to really bring in the biblical worldview as well as to help students master the concepts without being overwhelmed by the challenges).
Geometry and God’s Creation
Did you know that geometry was used to find the circumference of the earth…and the distance to the nearest star? The distances of outer space are mind-blowing in themselves—yet how much more incredible the God who stretched out the heavens (Isaiah 42:5)! Geometry helps us describe the arrangement of molecules; did you know if the molecules in our bodies were just mirror images of what they are, life as we know it wouldn’t work? Geometry shouts out that life didn’t happen by accident. Geometry helps us see the design in our eyes, and how God gave us the ability to perceive both distance and depth. With geometry, we can measure the height of things we can’t physically stretch a measuring tape to measure—such as a mountain or a tree.
Geometry and Real-Life Tasks
Not only does geometry help us explore God’s creation, but it helps us complete real-life tasks. It helps us design bridges, make beautiful art, and engineer chairs, to name a few. Geometry proves a wonderful course to talk about how God made man in His image and how we’re accountable to our Creator for how we use the intellect and abilities God gave us (a great theme to explore in high school as students are thinking through their futures). On a daily basis, we all experience the effects of geometry applied for both good and evil. Every time we use our cell phone, we’re using cell networks that are really a grid of “hexagonal cells” (Jacobs, p. 583)…and we’re using that device for either good or evil.
Geometry and Apologetics/Logical Thinking
While proofs are definitely a key part of geometry, they too are a useful tool. Proofs help us figure out if something applies just in one situation or in all, making them essential in describing God’s creation. After all, if we’re going to use geometry to measure distances in outer space where we can’t physically check our measurements, we need a way to think through those measurements logically. Deductive reasoning is thus a key piece of geometry—and it applies in other areas of life too. In the eCourse, students learn how in any proof, we start with assumptions—and the conclusions we reach are only as valid as the assumptions we begin with. This is key to understand when discerning through arguments people make (and when making them). For example, if you assume a uniformitarian perspective for how a canyon was made, you will reach different conclusions than if you assume a catastrophic global flood was the cause.
Don’t let geometry fool your students: it’s really an exciting journey through which we can behold God’s handiwork and get equipped to serve Him each step. While geometry can feel like a whole new world for students as it’s very different than arithmetic or algebra, understanding its purpose can help students push through the challenges to learn the key skills that really apply outside of math as well.
If you’d like to learn more or need a resource that teaches geometry from this perspective, check out the geometry eCourse I developed on the Master Books Academy. The first chapter is free to watch, and it will give you a greater glimpse into how geometry, far from being a meaningless exercise, is an incredible journey into measuring the earth.