Friday, November 11, 2011

Loving Art with Math

The math-art class was yesterday and all went well. Thank goodness we have block-scheduling which gives us an hour and half and we finished in one class period. It’s always great when the timing works out. That is the hardest part of these collaborative lessons.

With examples from weeks of preparations, and the cart loaded with materials- including bags already filled with sets of magazine pages in groups according to color, patterns, or theme. This cuts down on prep time for students.

This lesson connects not only math and art, but also to our Appalachian Studies focus (quilting arts), and a Christmas Ornament-Making Contest on the theme of Appalachian culture or recycling.

First students find the image or text areas they wish to include and trace using a jar lid. I prefer these over the compass because it is easier to see the full image area and less likely to slip while making their circles. When you have to cut out 20, you don't want to redraw.

Here’s a look at my many scribblings of teaching the math in the lesson- including finding the equilateral triangle inside the circle. Dr. G. taught the formulas, I only work with the parts I understand. I do the art, he does the math.

Students find the equilateral triangle, make a template and use it to make the folds which will be flaps for gluing the parts together to make a sphere.

A string is added so these can be used as ornaments.

Success! Now students can use what they learned and create these from recycling Christmas cards and enter them into the contest. Not to mention the benefits of having a hands-on lesson in the connections between the arts and math.

Today. I am working in the studio. Collage!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recycled Art

Hello friends,
I know you think I forgot all about my blog, but this lady has been very busy. A math teacher asked about thinking on an arts connection lesson. Being a multi-hat-wearing person on the job, my efforts have to have multiple purposes. I was launching a Christmas Ornament making contest, so why not link the two? The theme of the contest is Appalachian Culture and/or Recycling. These ornaments with a math connection is based on recycling.

Out of one magazine, I cut out enough circles for over 30 ornaments which take 20 circles each. That is over 600 circles- each having visual appeal and connections in groups of 20.

I used a jar ring to trace the circles so that I could frame out the visual portion I wished to have for each circle. Some having details I wanted to capture.

Other circles were grouped more in the color family or theme such as gardens, wood, flowers.

Some ornaments would include novelty, patterns, or whatever popped for me.

The process is simple. The time put into making these was layered into other areas of my normal day. All the tracing, cutting, grouping, and much of the assembling was done during the evenings and weekends during my rest time watching TV with hubby. The rest was during lunch at school (since I drink a diet shake and can sip while working with my hands). We have a 45 minute open lunch allowing students to take their meal to eat in the hall or in classrooms and sometimes in the garden. My office usually has at least six students eating and talking, so I can visit while working, and they love to see what I'm working on.

I taught two of the library assistants how to make these ornaments after they finished their morning duties. One of these boys is in the class I will be teaching this in. He will be an assistant.

The string for hanging was added before attaching the last part.

After all the ornaments were assembled I had my student art assistant help find the right beads or buttons to finish off the holiday look.

Some of these ornaments have homespun charm, while others have a sense of elegance.

Pattern and color play a large role in how well the small portions affect the overall design.

So how does all the matching, cutting, connecting, and designing connect with math?

These were built from an equilateral triangle fitting perfectly into the circle, leaving "tabs" for gluing. The basic principles of using triangles to build a geodesic dome have some interesting roots in an American story. Look up Buckminster Fuller to learn about his contributions to the fields of architecture, engineering, and design.

Although my contest theme connection is more about recycling, it also relates to the cultural art of quilt making- very necessary in the Appalachia as a functional art form.