Rose Window Geometry

chartres animation 2

Ah – the glories of learning off the computer! Could there be a more exhilarating way to see in a quick moment all the geometric wonders involved in those wonderful Cathedral windows of old? (Perhaps it is because I have learned to love Math so very much, that this is so astounding to me!)

This week for our Art Day on Wednesday, we looked at the details of the Rose Window in Gothic Architecture, and then tried our hands at drawing some. As simple as this example makes it look, getting all the lines in the right places to make anything beautiful is much harder than it seems. We struggled with inadequate tools. Honestly, how the makers of school compasses can sleep at night is beyond me. Those things are so flimsy there is no way a kid can learn to make a circle to be proud of, let alone explore the complexities and beauty of geometry.

So, we took a trip to Central Art Supply in downtown Medford to get a compass worthy of artistic adventure. We got a beauty. We also got distracted by all the shiny things there, and walked out with quite a number of other must haves.

I had looked up churches in our area with stained glass windows, thinking we might be able to tour them at some point, and since we were downtown, moments away from one of them, we called to see if we could stop by. Instant Field Trip!

Zion Lutheran Church in Medford, Oregon

It was a particularly sunny day, and so it was super easy for both my boys to see how using the colored glass windows as part of the wall added so much beauty to the inside of the building. I loved that Ben pointed out that this building used the pointed arches, which are stronger than the rounded, and spent a few minutes explaining to the pastor what he was learning about the architecture. (Proud Mama Moment!)

We stopped off at the bookstore too, because I was searching for a book that we could read from at the beginning of Math Lessons, that might show a tiny bit into how much we use Math every day – perhaps telling about someone famous that overcame a hurdle by using Math, or how Math is used in absolutely everything from designing motorcycles to skateboard ramps. There wasn’t anything like that geared toward children, but I did find this mystical looking item – that whispered to me from the shelf, telling me I needed it. It does not look like it could possibly disappoint.


When we got home from running around, there was a new National Geographic magazine in the mailbox. By this time, it was high time for me to get some work done, and I had disappeared into the office. Ben came running in all excited to show me that there is a full feature about Cathedrals and domes, with a pull-out poster showing the heights and beauty of several gorgeous cathedrals around the world!

I love when life hands us these little ready-made additions to the lessons we are already studying!

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