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Golden Rectangle

The Golden Rectangle is all around us -- whether we're aware of it or not. After learning more about this curious shape, you might spot it in buildings, hurricanes, and art. But what exactly is the Golden Rectangle? Why is it so important? What can it teach us about math? Let's find out:

The story behind the Golden Rectangle

Many people believe that the Golden Rectangle is the most visually pleasing shape in the entire universe. Considering how many beautiful paintings and buildings contain this shape, this argument is quite convincing. For example, the Golden Rectangle is present in the Mona Lisa, the Parthenon of Ancient Greece, and many other works of art.

How to build your own Golden Rectangle

Let's build our own Golden Rectangle. Start with a square, then draw a line from the corner of one side to the midpoint of another adjacent side. We then use this line as the radius of a circle to draw an arc down to the level of the side we found the midpoint of. Then add on a rectangle on the side of our square using that point we found with the arc and voilà! We have ourselves a Golden Rectangle.

Now let's have some fun with the Golden Rectangle. Turn one side into a perfect square, and you'll have another Golden Rectangle on the other side. Turn one side of your second rectangle into a square, and you'll be left with a third Golden Rectangle. You can continue this pattern forever (although you might run out of space eventually).

If we trace an arc through each perfect square within our Golden Rectangle, we're left with a very distinct spiral. This is the exact same spiral you'll find in seashells, flowers, and even spinning galaxies. Take a trip into your backyard, and you'll find plenty of examples of this pattern -- also known as the Fibonacci Sequence.

Now take a look at a picture of the Greek Parthenon from the front. Give the short side of this architectural rectangle a value of "1" and solve the equation:

1 2 + 5 2

You should be left with:

1 2 + 2.236068 2 = 1.618034

Another way to calculate the golden ratio with a continued fraction as follows:

ϕ = 1 + 1 ( 1 + 1 ( 1 + 1 ( 1 + 1 ( 1 + ) ) ) )

Topics related to the Golden Rectangle

Golden Ratio


Fibonacci Numbers

Flashcards covering the Golden Rectangle

Basic Geometry Flashcards

Common Core: High School - Geometry Flashcards

Practice tests covering the Golden Rectangle

Common Core: High School - Geometry Diagnostic Tests

Advanced Geometry Diagnostic Tests

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