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Math, Surface Area, and Birds – Katherine Loop


Have you ever stopped and watched an eagle soar overhead? Or how about a tiny hummingbird, whose wings are beating so fast it’s almost dizzying?

Each of these birds is designed so perfectly for what it does—and math can give us an even deeper appreciation of the Creator’s handiwork.

Consider for a moment just the area of an eagle’s wings. Each wing has a very large surface area. Because the surface area is so large, the eagle can glide through the air. However, it also needs very large muscles to get those large wings in motion—and surprise! It has them.

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hummingbirdNow look at the hummingbird. Its wings have a very small surface area. The hummingbird thus has to pump its wings all the time, giving it quite an appetite (which means it has to pollinate a lot of flowers!). Its small wings allow it to easily maneuver between flowers, and its heart is capable of pumping up to 1,260 times a minute.

God gave each bird exactly what it needed to do what He’d designed it to do. Even though we only see a fallen version of God’s design (originally, eagles wouldn’t have eaten meat), we can still see His incredible wisdom and care on display. We could use math in more depth to explore the incredible design of birds’ wings (and engineers do—birds teach us a lot about aerodynamics!), but even at a very simple level in looking at their area, we see how perfectly each one was designed for its task.

And that same God created you for the tasks He has ordained for you!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)

The above example of math in action is one students look at when they study surface area in Principles of Mathematics. If you’re looking for a curriculum that shows students how each math concept really is a real-life tool that proclaims the Creator’s praises, be sure to check it out.

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Written by Kate [Loop] Hannon

After having her own view of math transformed, Katherine has been researching, writing, and speaking on a biblical worldview of math for more than a decade. She's the author of the popular Principles math curriculum series published by Master Books. Her books on math and a biblical worldview have been used by individuals, homeschool groups, and Christian schools and colleges. Receive a free video on transforming math at

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