The following is a guest post written by April Millian, a high school mathematics teacher in collaboration with Lisette Morel, a high school art teacher. April and Lisette teach at New Milford High School in New Milford, New Jersey.
As a child I loved art class and excelled at mathematics, often creating artwork with a definite geometric flair. However, it wasn’t until college that I developed a real appreciation for the connections between these two subjects. I was fortunate to spend a January term (a three-week class) in Greece for a Classics course studying of Greek art and architecture. Along with our two Classics professors, a math professor joined us. My initial thought was that it’s crazy to have a math professor on this trip. I mean, what was he going to teach us in Greece? I was standing in front of the Parthenon listening to my professor discuss the Golden Ratio and how it applied, not only to the ancient structure in front of us, but to countless other works of art. That is how my love of mathematics and its significance in art was born.
Fast-forward 13 years I, Miss Millian, am now fortunate to be teaching in a school that is technology-oriented with a fantastic art teacher, Ms. Morel, who shares my interest in relating our two subjects. I was teaching linear perspective to my geometry students when I realized what a great topic it would make for a cross-curricular activity. Ms. Morel and I began to develop an idea for a video scavenger hunt at The Metropolitan Museum of Art that would combine the art with the mathematics behind it.
Teacher and Student Preparation:
Our objective for this interdisciplinary lesson was simply to introduce our students to and have them recognize and apply the relationship that art and math share. It is crucial to establish and maintain real-life connections in education. This connection brings relevance to the subject matter and to our students’ lives.
To prepare students for the interdisciplinary lesson plan I, Ms. Morel, introduced my drawing students and Miss Millian’s Geometry class to western and non-western viewpoints, such as Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Asian and their applications to visually documenting real life. Afterwards we discussed the Renaissance and linear perspective and how it was utilized by the architects and later by painters. For a real life experience I had our students step out into our hallways and view a one-point perspective. We also looked at photographs of homes and streets where students had to point out a one point, two point, high, low or normal vanishing points. While in Miss Millan’s Geometry class I used a document camera which I found to be extremely helpful in my demonstration and presentation to a large class. Our lesson culminated with a technology, art and math scavenger hunt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
To create this scavenger hunt, we started off by visiting the museum ourselves to get acquainted with the layout and decide which pieces would be included in our scavenger hunt. We also took pictures of each work of art. Then the real work began. We used iMovie to create a video that would take our students throughout history on a search for linear perspective (or sometimes the lack of it) in art. The students were armed with an iPod Nano for each group of two, and a question sheet that they needed to answer. The clues were recorded on the iPods by Ms. Morel and myself. They were also given visual clues, such as a cropped part of a painting, to help them find the correct work of art. To add a bit of challenge to the adventure, the first team to complete the scavenger hunt with the most correct answers received a prize of two prints we had purchased at the museum gift shop. Upon returning from our quest, the students created their own linear perspective drawings and completed an online survey.
It was so amazing to watch our students scamper through the museum, intent on finding these works of art. The students enjoyed the activity and found using the iPods more engaging than just reading off of a sheet of paper. What made this scavenger hunt so fascinating was that it brought to life a true connection between classroom learning and real life experience for our students.
Below you can view The Met Scavenger Hunt created by Miss Millian and Ms. Morel.
(Having trouble viewing this video. Try this link.)
Preview Scavenger Hunt Worksheet by clicking on the image below.
April Millian is a high school mathematics teacher in New Milford, New Jersey. She enjoys traveling and coaching the school’s Varsity Bowling team.
Lisette Morel is a teaching artist-mom, working with her students in a variety of art disciplines while maintaining an active art career.
After watching enough people work on sudoku number puzzles, it occurred to me that this logic game can be easily adapted to art by substituting the numbers for colors or symbols.
Color sudoku follows three basic rules:
1. Use all the color options in each box without repeating
2 Use all the color options in each row without repeating
3. Use all the color options in each column without repeating
Since I love sharing – feel free to download the low-tech color version of sudoku that I created as an extension activity. I printed mine on tag board and laminated to keep clean. I also wanted to keep the colors consistent between the game boards and the pieces so I printed out color sheets and cut them down into pieces that fit each puzzle. Since the 4 color sudoku need larger pieces than the 6 color and 9 color, I keep those pieces separate in a zip lock bag. Reuse a shallow class-pack type box to store the entire kit together.
Use the 4-color sudoku for younger students or to introduce the concept for the first time. Let the kids differentiate their own learning by choosing their own difficulty level. I don’t use answer keys (if you follow the rules, you know when you have found the solution) - although you could easily create your own by writing in the color names on an extra printout by solving yourself (or have a student do it for you).
4 Color Sudoku: (Beginner)
4-Color Sudoku #1
4-Color Sudoku #2
4-Color Sudoku #3
4-Color Sudoku #4
6 Color Sudoku: (Beginner/Intermediate)
6- Color Sudoku #1
6- Color Sudoku #2
6- Color Sudoku #3
9 Color Sudoku: (Intermediate)
9 Color Sudoku #1
9 Color Sudoku #2
9 Color Sudoku #3
9 Color Sudoku #4
9 Color Sudoku #5
9 Color Sudoku #6
9 Color Sudoku: (Advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #7 (advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #8 (advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #9 (advanced)
Color-Sheets to print: (Cut down to fit sudoku puzzles)
Idea update 3/18/10: Print out duplicate sudoku game cards so students can challenge each other to see who can finish card first.
Reader suggested update 8/24/13: Blank Sudoku Cards for the students to create themselves. Great idea Amy!
Searching for great images and content for your classroom? Then you’ll want to look through the unbelievable resources at kitZu created by the Orange County Department of Education. The online collection of digital kits covers numerous subject areas such as science, music, mathematics, history, visual art and more. The content includes free educational and copy right friendly media resources that are appropriate for kindergarten through high school ages. At kitZu their goal was to, “provide students with the building blocks necessary to build video and multimedia projects that tell a story and demonstrate learning.” With the great organization of these digital resources you’ll have no problem quickly finding school friendly material for those teachable moments and big multimedia projects. Under the visual arts section I found 41 kits alone. This is an amazing resource for educators so make sure to add it to your bookmarks or Delicious account.
A big thanks to @NMHS_Principal for sharing this resource on twitter.
Kits can include any of the following:
- Audio Clips
- Video Clips
Examples of some of the visual art topics are located below.
Check out how the art of paper folding intertwines with math and science in Green Fuse Films’ new award winning documentary “Between the Folds.” Just from watching the trailer, I’m totally intrigued and can’t wait to see the whole film. I can already think of several ways this documentary can inspire or teach my art students. Share the trailer with your students and they will see the passion these artists have for the discovery of science and math through the art or origami. Below is a short description of the documentary from the films official site.
GREEN FUSE FILMS’ new documentary “Between The Folds” uncovers the stories of ten fine artists and intrepid theoretical scientists who abandoned careers and scoffed at hard-earned graduate degrees – all to forge unconventional lives as modern-day paperfolders.
As these offbeat and provocative minds converge on the unlikely medium of origami, they reinterpret the world in paper, and bring forth a fascinating mix of sensibilities towards art, expressiveness, creativity and meaning. And, together they demonstrate the innumerable ways that art and science come to bear as we struggle to understand and honor the world around us – as artists, scientists, creators, collaborators, preservers, and simply curious beings.
With breathtaking cinematography, animation and a beautiful original score, the film paints an arresting portrait of the mysterious creative threads that bind us all – fusing science and sculpture, form and function, ancient and new.