Our Grade 5-8 artists/mathematicians created a museum of work showcasing some remarkable visual representations of mathematical ideas and mathematical representations of artistic expressions. We worked on platonic solids made of playing cards, some tessellation work, apollonian gaskets, Mandalas exploring radial symmetry, Notan designs, and “Function Faces,” inspired by Fawn’s “Des-Man” (Some of my kids’ works were created with Desmos and some with Geogebra – Ah the joys of supporting multiple platforms, each of which cooperates better or worse with different software). I have a group of students this year who are natural visual thinkers. We created way too much work for the show, and had to make difficult choices about what to include—and they were brutal curators! During the “gallery walk” and opening for our show, we created a couple of gigantic dodecahedrons (…thanks to George Hart for the inspiration).
Students were highly invested in this work, and you could hear the thinking and synthesis in their conversations and commentary: “…adding a fractional slope made mine look much more sinister,” and, “…mine looked much more sarcastic when I restricted the domain,” and, “…well, there are 12 faces, and each one is a pentagon, so we need 60 cards – no wait, each edge is SHARED by two pentagons, so we only need 60 divided by 2…30 cards total.” They really stepped up for this work, both as designers and as thinkers.
I was inspired by the “MArTh Madness” work written about HERE at Lost in Recursion. I’ve been chomping at the bit to participate in a festival like this with students since I found the idea, and planned with colleagues from the math and art department to make this valuable, fun, and integrated.
BTW, this article was well timed to complement our work here. I like to think that Patrick Honner and the New York Times are tuned in to what we’re doing in math classes in Maine.