Florist brings real-world perspective to college math


Lauren Daly, a math teacher at the Ascension Bishops School, often hears “When are we going to use this?” Of the students, so she enlisted a local florist to help answer the question.

Carrie Leonard, licensed florist and owner of Posh Bouquet, spoke to Daly grade seven students about the best plant fertilizer / water ratio, the appeal of asymmetry over symmetry, and the benefit of cutting the rods at a 45 degree angle, showing how a variety of mathematical concepts relate to his daily life.

“To make the arrangement aesthetically pleasing, our tallest flowers in the arrangement should be 1.5 to 2 times the height of your vase,” Leonard said. “In addition, the flowers should vary in height, be grouped in odd-numbered triangles, and include contrasting colors to give depth.”

The lesson did not end there, however. Daly asks her students to follow along with visuals showing the proportionality of flower arrangements as well as measuring vases of different sizes to determine the tallest flower, she said.

Carrie Leonard, licensed florist and owner of Posh Bouquet, chats with seventh grade students in Lauren Daly's math class at Ascension Episcopal School about how she uses certain math concepts in her daily life, including measuring the better water / plant ratio.

“This all brings me to my lesson on using rates to solve proportions, which helps make predictions,” Daly said. “Later we will even get technical and graph the proportional relationship and share with Ms. Leonard to use as a cheat sheet.”

Bringing math to life for students is invaluable, the teacher said.

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“When they have a connection to the real world, learning is easier because it has a purpose,” Daly said. “Now, when we graph the relationship between the height of the vase and the tallest flower, discuss the independent and dependent variables, and graph the relationship, it will no longer be abstract or alien.”


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