I love to create in the math classroom. It’s a great way to connect with students who may not LOVE math but love to create. However, I want the projects we create to enhance their understanding of math, and not just end up an art lesson.
This project, with the addition of a critical thinking discussion, does both. I hold up a few of these pieces of art and walk around the room so students can look at them. They automatically start talking at their tables about what they see.
Then I ask the question, “What type of transformation is represented in this art? Discuss at your table, but be able to support your answer.” I immediately hear “rotation, it’s a rotation!” But as they start to justify to each other they hit a road block. It does’t fit what they know about rotations. Eventually they decide it’s a reflection and provide the necessary justification to support their idea. I love the rich conversations that happen.
Now, I could stop there and my students would have learned, but what fun is that? They want to create one of these art pieces. I already have triangles cut out and ready to go and we discuss a plan to make one of our own. As they are creating, we “remember” that this is a reflection, not a rotation, and discuss how we can achieve this. Students are engaged, they are helping each other, and they are having fun in math.
Here are some pics of the process and some of my kiddos work. It is always a success!
I’ve also included a slide show of some of the art created.
What do you do at the end of the year when students have already turned in their laptops? Tessellations.
This was a great review of transformations and students were able to show their creativity. We learned how to make tessellations that translate, rotate, and reflect and then students could choose which 2 of the 3 they wanted to make pictures with. I loved the A-HA moments when students created their tessellation realizing that the transformation used to create the template was the same transformation they were trying to make.
I created some stop motion animations to help make each type of tessellation.
Some were simple, some were fancy. All of them were very fun.
Keeping students involved and excited about math at the end of the year with finals and impending summer break is very important. I want students to love math more when they leave my classroom than when they entered. I don’t want to lose them at the end.
I created this project my first year of teaching (we won’t talk about how long ago that was). It used to be a teacher-guided activity, but with the use of technology, it’s now a perseverance activity that meets the Geometry construction standards for constructing an equilateral triangle and regular hexagon. We also have a discussion about the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle when they ask the question, “Why doesn’t this fit exactly?”
I’ve included a link to the doc with animated gifs to guide the students through construction. Seriously, try to not help them. They can figure this out.
Here’s a small gallery of current and past pumpkins. It really is a fun activity that meets our standards. Our goal is to Make Math Not Suck!
I don’t give vocabulary assignments very often. I usually teach it as we go in context of the lesson. Every now and then front-loading vocabulary will make lessons flow more smoothly. That’s the case with our circle unit. I can’t take credit for creating this project, but I really do like it. Students have to look up the words then create a picture with circles and label each one. Once I begin the lessons on this they are already familiar with the vocab. One student asked me during the activity if we could do this more often, “Anytime you can color in math, it’s a good day.” We actually color in Geometry often, so I guess he has a lot of good days 🙂 I’ve included a few examples below and then attached the Slides I gave them with more examples. Use it freely and let me know if you do. I love it when others can benefit from something I already do.
Link to Slides for the activity prompt, vocab list and other examples.