Math + Art:
When Math and Art Mix
Today's Snack: Let's make several works of "math art" before we
scarf down our snack! With eight saltine crackers and two squares of
thin-sliced cheese, how many different patterns or arrangements of squares and
rectangles could you make on a plate before you eat them? Note that you can
divide the cheese into smaller squares and rectangles by folding and tearing
the slices; it's pretty hard to cut a cracker without crumbling it, but you can
try it. Now eat, and enjoy. Today, we learn that math and art mix . . . and
math and SNACKS mix, too!
Black and white construction
Scissors | ruler | Scotch
We all know that music and math are interrelated. In
fact, a child who sings in a choir is getting a leg up in math studies, and it
shows, in test scores. There's something powerful about matching up the mental
skills needed to read musical notes, calibrate your voice to it, keep up with
the lyrics, and keep the beat. All those complex operations pay off in better
thinking skills and math achievement, and that's a big reason most parents
insist on vocal and/or instrumental music training for their children.
But did you know that math and art
are interconnected, too? Mathematical calculations are common in fine art that
you see in museums and people's homes, although the uneducated eye might not
For example, take a look at this oil
painting, "Arithmetic Composition,"
completed by Theo van Doesburg (a Dutch painted who lived from 1883-1931) in
1930. What mathematical relationships can you see?
The sides of each square, and the distance between
each square, are twice as big, moving from square to square, smallest to
largest. Van Doesburg was interested in how art and architecture work together,
and he used mathematics clearly and effectively in his painting.
You can definitely see the
relationships between math and art in the life work of another Dutch painter, Piet
Mondrian (1872-1944). He is probably the most famous artist who enhanced both
fields - art and math - by combining them with genius originality. Read more
about him on www.mondriantrust.com
Now, using your knowledge of math
plus construction paper, a ruler, scissors and tape, create a work of art that
involves mathematics! Be ready to explain the mathematical relationships that
you have embedded in your work of art.
By Susan Darst Williams • www.AfterSchoolTreats.com • Math • © 2010