SchoolArts Magazine

March 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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A D V O C A C Y I t's a fact that art teachers don't often get the chance to collabo- rate with their peers in the math d epartment. At our school, we're turning that around. When our math teachers asked to enter a proj - ect in the annual art fair, we were i ntrigued. Working with students in grades 5–8, they submitted a large, colorful sculpture of the Menger sponge, a 3D fractal curve, made from hundreds of paper cubes. We were further intrigued. Were there other ways we could merge math les - sons with art to bring depth to both? The Plan Using a summer grant provided by our school, we met several times dur- ing the school break with our math colleagues to research and discuss this topic. Math specialist Nanette Newman said, "Our goal was to inspire and motivate students to visualize mathematics through art. We wanted to create activities that engage students in learning the art and beauty of mathematics." By the start of school, we had a plan: 1. Develop math-themed art projects for every grade level, K–8. 2. H ost a math-art fair for younger students, K–4. 3. Create an all-school art instal- lation involving every student, t eacher, and staff member o n campus. Grade-Level Art Projects We had a lot of fun coming up with art lessons that had a math twist. Third-graders worked on establish- ing one-point perspective in their d rawings. They chose a vanishing point and used a ruler to make inter- secting, radiating lines that made t heir work appear 3D. Fourth-graders worked on tessellations, coloring polygons in a repeated pattern. More experienced artists in sixth-grade created black-and-white optical art. Every grade level had an age- and ability-appropriate concept. Math Art Fair We set aside one morning to host math/art stations throughout the library and artrooms with the help of parent volunteers. For thirty min - utes, students worked on activities s uch as coding puzzles, Spirographs, origami, and string art as they rotated through the event. Walking into the fair, students said, "This looks awesome," and when it was time to leave, "I don't want it to be the end." Each class was also offered a quick, thirty-minute art lesson. All-School Art Installation Early in the school year, each art class worked to create an all-school art installation project. Inspired by artist Ellie Balk, we had twenty-six gallons of paint colors represent - ing every letter of the alphabet and u sed them to create cipher sticks. Students painted cardboard circles to "spell" their names in color and we attached the circles to wooden stakes. Faculty and staff were also invited to participate. In the spring, Art + Math = Awesome Andrean Andrus, Andrea Crane, Mimi McMann, and Cathy Naughton Our goal was to inspire and motivate students to visualize mathematics through art. CONTINUED ON PAGE 53. Students and faculty participated in this thirty-minute sticky note grid art station, part of the Math Art Fair at Graland Country Day School. 8 MARCH 2018 SchoolArts

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