create (with kids): artful math

By freshlyplanted - 8:59 PM

I used to believe that to be an artist, you had to be a terrible mathematician. (No one had ever introduced me to the Golden Ratio or Escher.) I suffered through math until high school Calculus, until I finally had a teacher who was able to speak my math language. He inspired me to not only love math myself, but to become a teacher too- two things I was pretty convinced I was never going to do. While I enjoy math, art is still one of my first loves- so I get really excited when I can combine the two!

For this activity, we started out with a large basket of mismatched crayons and a large muffin tin. 

 Isia and her friend then sorted them out according to color. As they sorted, they began to realize that some colors had more crayons than other colors. "Which color has the most?" they wondered.

They took turns counting each color's crayons, and then I graphed the results. For each crayon I made a dot with a bingo marker above that specific color. This was a simple, visual way for us to compare the colors. The girls then enjoyed talking about the results as well as taking turns to point out which ones had the most and which ones had the least. And then we put the crayons to their best use- creating art!

Further study: For older kiddos you might consider having them try to guess the most and the least pre-graphing, then compare their guesses with the final results. You could also keep graphing the crayons over a period of time and see how the results change. It might be an interesting study into your family's color choices too... (wink)

(A few) Mathful Artists: Albrecht Durer, Leonardo da Vinci, MC Escher, Salvador Dali

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