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Math + Art = Fun!

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According to mathematician Bertrand Russell, “Mathematics rightly viewed possesses not only truth but supreme beauty.” Though some are baffled by the notion of a connection between math and art, it is valid and evident.  Many of the same skills are used in both mathematics and art, including spatial reasoning and geometry.

You and your child can make these same connections! Looking for more inspiration for your budding mathematician/artist? Resources abound! Go forth and create - but remember - think process, not product!The following activities lend themselves to the exploration of this relationship between math and art - and provide lots of fun and creativity along the way!

Still not convinced? Two words. Leonardo DaVinci. This Italian artist, engineer and scientist was the ultimate Renaissance Man, who, besides being a famous painter, showed tremendous talents in such fields as drafting, sculpting and architecture.

You and your child can make these same connections! The following activities lend themselves to the exploration of this relationship between math and art – and provide lots of fun and creativity along the way!

Geometric Shapes

This project involves using many geometric shapes to make a composition. Taking Paul Klee’s famous piece Castle and Sun as inspiration, the child can use pre-cut shapes (grades K-2) or trace shapes with a pencil (grades 3 and up) to create an original design. A comprehensive tutorial can be found here.

Tessellations

Tessellations are mathematical designs using repeated shapes with no gaps or overlaps – honeycombs and pineapples are naturally-occurring examples of tessellations. These shapes are fun for children to work with and can produce an impressive design with little effort on the part of the artist. Tessellations can be modified by size to fit the hands of younger and older artists. Want to get started? Check out this video.

Fibonacci

Where to begin? Fibonacci was a medieval Italian mathematician who is known for the Fibonacci Sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89). Fibonacci didn’t ‘discover’ this sequence, but rather learned it from his math tutor, who was Hindu.

The ratio between these numbers is known as the “golden ratio”. This sequence is represented naturally in plants, flowers, fruit, and more. Using the Fibonacci Sequence in art is pretty exciting! You and your slightly older artist (9+)  will find a fun and impressive artistic investigation into the Fibonacci Sequence here.

Bold Rectangles

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian was a pioneer in the 20th-Century abstract art movement. What’s the math connection? Geometry! Bold, striking compositions can be made in this style using paint and painter’s tape, or construction paper and a glue stick. Mondrian’s work focuses on the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and the primary values (white, black and gray).

Looking for more inspiration for your budding mathematician/artist? Resources abound! Go forth and create – but remember – think process, not product!


Math + Art = Fun!

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