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What Is Maths Through Art? Artistic Mathamatical Projects Create Contexts For Learning

A project based on functionality of form, if devised cleverly, can contain the essence of a mathematical strategy. Maths and Art teachers can collaborate to create artworks with their class that can be used functionally for a variety of purposes.

Form Follows Function

To prime the students you may want to visit the concept Form Follows Function in the paper “ Form Follows WHAT ? The modernist notion of function as a carte blanche.” [ MICHL.J MAY 1997] Michl cites Sullivan [1896] “It is my belief that it is of the very essence of every problem that it contains and suggests its own solution.”

An Arts/Maths Based Approach

Art/Maths Teachers use mathematical strategies with the students so that they can see how maths is used in the real world. Students experience concepts visually while they enjoy the gentle artistic processes that eventually afford them of a product of which they can be proud. This style of teaching is defined and exemplified by a paper written by University of Western. AU. Centre for Staff Development [2000] called “Project Based Learning.

When an members of an academic staff collaborate to devise projects using mathematical principles expressed through the creative arts, they are incorporating elements of a teaching strategy into the school environment that literally become a teaching resource. The environment becomes its own reinforcing form of Environmental Literacy – in this case Mathematical Literacy.

Environmental Literacy

There are two meanings of the phrase Environmental Literacy; one is a definitional phrase, which describes a literacy that works with students so that they understand what is good for the environment. This strand contains elements of conservation and environmental awareness. The other strand is closely linked but slightly different. It draws the awareness of child educators to the environment within which students are educated. Regio Amelio for example would ask from within their frame of reference; “What are students seeing, reading and experiencing within the learning environment in relation to its effect and impact on their development within the realm of multiple literacy?”

Consolidating Knowledge

It is proposed that, students will remember their mathematical formulas when they have been a party to the designing and construction of artworks and the display of them. Visual reminders of the construction of the concept will couple with ownership of the creative process required to make the piece of artwork. This will reinforce learning.

Because the Environmental Literacy is operating all around them, students are operating within an ideal environment for peer tutoring. This is because students can use real life examples upon which to base their tutoring. They can animate their sessions with stories about how they themselves created the very environment within which they are teaching!

Peer Tutoring

We can name the idea of students teaching each other in many ways. Whether we call this strategy, Proximal Development as outlined in the article Vygotskian Inspired Learning.: Socio-cultural-based learning centred model of education. [Murphy.J 2006] or Peer Tutoring, as explained by the Dept.of Education and Training NSW, does not really matter. What matters is that we give older students a chance to tutor younger people, or each other, about what they know. This gives the students an opportunity to both consolidate their knowledge and to share their knowledge with others.

Maths/Art A Growing Culture of Cooperation

Because of the environmental literacy growing around students, a Maths/Art based approach will develop an environment abundant with teaching resources. Remembered and understood these resources will become an abundant source of readily available resource for students to draw on.