Monday, 15 April 2013

Using Art to Inspire Maths

As part of the "World Tour of Maths", I have spent the last week in New York visiting some schools. It has been a great opportunity to visit some classes and meet some teachers.

And yesterday, I got to visit two of the world's greatest art galleries - The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Guggenheim Museum.

And after about 5 minutes, I started to think.

"How could I use art to inspire maths in my classroom?"

So, here are a few pictures.

How could you use them in your classroom to get a conversation started about maths?

Homage to the Square: Soft Spoken
Josef Albers

Large Blue Horizontal
Ilya Bolotowsky

Second Theme
Burgoyne Diller

The Bargeman
Fernand L├ęger

Sol LeWitt

Composition 8
Vasily Kandinsky 

Anthony Hernandez

One Million Kingdoms
Pierre Huyghe

And here's an idea...

Maybe you could build up a portfolio of pictures of artwork that stimulate and provoke mathematical conversations with your class. 


  1. I showed this photo to my kids one day, just because I thought it was stunning.

    It sparked a long conversation about symmetry and opposites (inverse), and the conversation strayed into numbers.

    My point is, sometimes deciding how you would use it in a math class and they decide it should be used are completely opposite things. When it comes to creativity of ideas, I put my trust in my students curiosity.

    That being said, for the first three pictures with squares and rectangles, I might ask them to create a math game that used this painting as the board. You could even focus it to a certain topic (fractions, addition, etc) and see what they come up with.

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