Symmetry Explored Through Math & Art

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An arts integrated unit takes time to develop and structure.

Wendy Powell, Middle School math teacher at Willow Creek Academy knew exactly what curricular nut she wanted to expand on at the beginning of this school year.

She approached teaching artist, Ascha Drake, with her ideas, and together they designed a unit that honed in on ideas of symmetry.

Throughout the unit, students were  encouraged to look at the natural world.

The students viewed different artists, who became artistic resources, and the students expanded mathematical ideas of symmetry and rotation through art materials and processes.

Students looked at forms from the natural world that are symmetrical, and created drawings that required close looking and observation.

Students then looked at other symmetrical forms/ radial patterns that exist around them:

And they then learned that Japanese Crests were also inspired by natural forms, and the compositional shape of the circle was the chosen space to work within.

Students then began to think about their own personal symbols, and how those forms could be used to create a crest of their own.

Using watercolor pencils on watercolor circles, students then began composing using a ruler, a protractor, and their shapes.

Rotation was a key mathematical concept that helped the structuring of the crests.

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