Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Dr. Robin Ward, as a preview of her session on this topic at next week’s Arts Integration and STEAM Conference (registration closes in just 6 days).  Welcome, Robin!

When you reflect on some of the seven elements of art; namely, line, shape (2D shape), form (3D figure), and space (perspective), it’s obvious why you could be exploring mathematics simultaneously, as these are all vocabulary words you might use in a mathematics classroom. Even color and value, two other elements of art, are mathematical in nature in that color blending involves using fractional and proportional amounts of different colors. Clearly, a natural connection exists between math and art given their shared terminology.

It is not a surprise that more and more teachers are integrating the arts into their STEM teaching, as the research continues to document how the arts positively impact students’ academic achievement in mathematics, science, and reading/language arts. Additionally, the arts prepare students for success by motivating learning, fostering creativity, developing students’ critical thinking skills, and instilling perseverance in and a sense of community among students. In short, it just makes good sense as educators to embrace the power and potential of STEAM.

Come join me on July 23 and learn how easy it is to richly integrate a piece of art into a mathematics lesson. Enjoy photos of colorful artwork created by students that embody the work of Jasper Johns, Piet, Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Romero Britto. Discover how students donned their “math goggles” to see and explore a variety of mathematical concepts in their masterpieces including counting, place value, multiplication, fractions, geometry, and measurement. Then, stroll through a mathematical art gallery and learn how to transform your mathematics classroom into an art gallery!

So put on your “math goggles” and see math in art on July 23!  In the meantime, connect with me on Twitter @mathgoggles and follow/like me on my “math goggles” Facebook page. I look forward to meeting you at the conference!

– Robin A. Ward, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics     

Rice University School Mathematics Project
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