Category: Math and Art

String design, ellipses, and orbital mechanics

Artistic way to encourage understanding of a conic section.  Participants physically build an ellipse by choosing two foci and sketching the figure through a loop of string. While stitching an elliptical string design they puzzle about varying the foci spread and the loop length to create more extreme ellipses and are intuitively introduced to the measurement of eccentricity.

Big beach towel

Since beaches are starting to open again, we thought this activity might bring smiles and hopes. Act One: Check out this beach towel!  What do you wonder? What would you like to know? Miami artist, Misael Soto (pictured on the left below),…

Pascal coloring and modular math

Clock math, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,1,2,3,4,5,6,7… is modular math. Let your students learn about the usefulness of modular math as they color and explore Pascal’s Triangle. Very pretty math!

Point of view

If you have a set of cubes for your classroom, this would make a great group hands-on project. Its an old puzzle but the activity deserves a revisit. Below are two straight-on images of my stack of blocks. Can you…

Spiraling squares – compass and straight edge

Can you see the many spirals in this design? Students calculate the size of each increasing round of squares and consider what sort of spirals these must be. The activity: SpiralingSquares.pdf Working with a little mathematical art is a great…

Pythagorean Triples and coloring

Pythagorean triples are not only handy for students to recognize but produce some interesting and lovely patterns.  We’ve combined a little coloring with our Pythagorean Triple pattern investigation to let your students relax while they color, view the beauty, and…

Sol LeWitt’s pyramid – How might you count those blocks?

Sol LeWitt (1928 – 2007) was a an American artist involved in Conceptual art and Minimalism.  This structure is housed in the garden of the Hirshhorn Museum on the National Mall.  The activity:  Four-sidedPyramid.pdf CCSS:  4.OA.C, 5.OA.B, 7.EE.B, HSF.BF, HSF.LE, HSM, MP5 Two related…

Fibonacci coloring

Let your students simply enjoy coloring our designs or artistically play with the whole creation of Φ designs. Simply coloring our Fibonacci patterns might allow students to ponder the Fibonacci sequence (while they learn more about its beauty) and just…

Wheel of Theodorus

Bring a little art into your math class as you begin to use the Pythagorean theorem and your students first meet irrational numbers.

Hexadecimal coloring

Probably most of us have heard of and even used hexadecimal color codes. Don’t you wonder why their number descriptions really make sense? In this activity we first ask students to color in our Golden Spiral by giving them the…

Spiraling triples

Let students explore the patterns of perfect squares and Pythagorean Triples as they analyze our piece of art and decide why the resulting construction looks like spiraling squares. For a finale they color their own spiraling triple. The activity: SpiralingTriples-activity.pdf

Hands of “Support”

Lorenzo Quinn, an Italian sculptor, created and temporarily installed this piece of art entitled “Support” in Venice.  Quinn used his own children’s hands to design this piece.  His intention was to demonstrate our need of human support to ensure the…