Make some Maths Art for your classroom
Feel like your classroom is looking drab? Want to inject some colour into your day? Making Maths Art with your pupils could give your working environment a much-needed face lift, as well as having other important benefits. Maths is often seen as the direct opposite of Art, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Art is full of Mathematics – perspective, symmetry, repeating patterns, you name it, Art can’t live without Maths! (And as Mathematicians, we will also tell you that Maths can’t live without creativity…)
Making Maths Art with your pupils can be so much more than filling up an end of term lesson. Maths Art teaches your pupils some serious skills – measuring lines, using angles, making calculations and being accurate with a pair of compasses. Maths Art is fun, and pupils will be learning without even realising it.
Maths and Art - A serious business
Some people like Mathematics Professor Robert Bosch have taken combining Maths and Art to the next level, creating serious Maths Art which has been exhibited all round the world. Professor Robert Bosch uses The Travelling Salesman Problem in most of his works.
Maths Art by Professor Robert Bosch
Maths Art Ideas for your Classroom
Make your own Escher
M.C.Escher is one of the most famous artists where Mathematics is at the forefront of their work. What you might not realise is that Escher was directly inspired by the Mathematician Roger Penrose and that they wrote to each other sharing ideas. The easiest Escher to make in the classroom is a tessellation, and free resources can be found on the TES website
A celtic knot drawn by hand. Credit: https://nrich.maths.org/content/id/6809/knot4by4.jpg
Drawing Celtic knots is extremely satisfying and a lot easier than you think. Check out this Celtic Knots resourcefrom the NRICH website. Don’t forget to tell your pupils about Knot Theory – a proper branch of mathematics which is studied as a part of many Mathematics degrees! If you want a 3-minute explanation of Knot Theory, then watch this video.
Some people actually sew these patterns. Image: Cover of Curve Stitching by Jon Millington.
Curve stitching was invented by Mary Everest Boole, a self-taught 19th Century Mathematician. It later took off in the 1960s as a craft with actual string, but you don’t necessarily need to go that far, and pencil and paper will be fine. There are lots of templates on the American Mathematical Society website and here is also a Christmas Curve Stitching resource.
Curves of Pursuit
Curves of Pursuit look amazing and there are some great resources on the website Artful Maths. You might be surprised to learn that some people have used these in Mathematical Knitting.
Incredible Knitted Image at Woolly Thoughts website.
We have all had a go at making art with a pair of compasses, and it is well worth returning to this tried and tested favourite. Here is a video illustrating a slightly more advanced version of what you might be used to. (Top tip – you can play back this type of video at double speed on YouTube if your pupils want to watch it more than once.)
Make sure you visit some of the best websites around for Mathematical Art:
Artful Maths https://www.artfulmaths.com/ (You can follow Clarissa Grandi on twitter @c0mplexnumber)
NRICH (Resources they have tagged with ‘Art’) https://nrich.maths.org/public/topic.php?group_id=48&code=-405
Think Maths Pi Art http://www.think-maths.co.uk/pi-art