Teaching ART + MATH
Ronald D. McIntosh
A Florentine Renaissance architect
named Brunelleschi recognized
math and art as inseparable. He
developed the concept of “one-
point perspective” and discovered
that drawing lines to converge on a
single point in space creates a dimi-
nution of objects in a cogent, elegant
illusion of real-
istic depth on a
point is on the horizon line. From
this point, straight lines drawn in
measured degrees apart from one
measurement (inches, centimeters,
etc.) can be combined to create a
harmonious drawing. For instance,
the drawing might be of a plaza,
surrounded by columns, steps, and
entrances to buildings.
Professional learning communities (PLCs) are designed
to increase and improve the
time teachers spend working with one another planning curriculum for mathematics, reading,
writing, history, English, and other
by their school.
help to improve
test scores in math
coupled their subject areas for years.
American public high schools have
a history of integrating art and
English, music and theater,
math and science. Why
not combine English with
physical education, science
with dance and theater,
and art with math?
Such a change would
require an increase in the
frequency of PLC meetings.
PLCs can meet anywhere
from two times a month
for an hour or twice a week
for thirty to sixty minutes.
The goal is to continue
meeting at agreed-upon
times, throughout the current school year, the next
year and continuously,
until it is part of the overall teaching strategy. In
my estimation, students
who learn by combining
core subjects with electives
will increase their depth of
knowledge by learning the
subject with consistent frequency.
Math combined with . . . Art!
Such a combination would require
the involvement of both the math
and art teachers, uniting their areas
of expertise with a goal of improving math skills and math scores.
The study of perspective offers one
Students who learn by
combining core subjects
with electives will increase
their depth of knowledge.
If the teacher chooses, he or she
can define the various aspects of
the drawing by writing out degrees,
pointing out perpendicular lines and
planes and discussing volume, mass,
and area. It is likely that many other
math vocabulary terms would be
represented in the drawing.
A math or art teacher may actually write on a drawing where math
terms appear, acquainting the students with a visual definition. The
students gain a greater understand-
Attributes of a
1. Administrators, teachers, educational assistants, and volunteers are highly involved.
2. Academic displays in the hallways and classrooms serve as
evidence of learning
3. Sports, music, drama, art, and
shop accomplishments are on
4. Each individual is actively
teaching or learning—working
in their school with a sense of
place and initiative.
Jessica Sewell, Eiffel Tower. Colored
pencil and watercolor. Kingwood High
School, Kingwood, Texas.
another can create a 360° radius.
Adding to these lines 90° squares
and rectangles connected to these
radiating lines helps form a proportionate distance from foreground to
Geometric shapes, like squares
and rectangular cubes, spheres,
cylinders, circles, and ellipses used
in perspective with a standard of
ing through a self-learning experience of how to measure degrees,
how to describe the measurements
and define what the lines do in
During the week or two that the
students are involved with this proj-