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Learning Maths Outside the Classroom - Finding the Maths in Art


This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 28 July 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 21 October 2010 by ncetm_administrator

Museums and Art GalleriesMuseums and Art Galleries
 

Finding the Maths in Art

The National Curriculum makes a clear statement regarding the importance of learning through creative media:

“By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum should enable pupils to think creatively and critically, to solve problems and to make a difference for the better. It should give them the opportunity to become creative, innovative, enterprising and capable of leadership to equip them for their future lives as workers and citizens.

It should enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and to cope with change and adversity.”


The Project – Finding Maths in Art
Creative thinking and behaviour can be promoted in all curriculum subjects and we have enjoyed the opportunity to use art as a medium and maths as the focus in this project – the children discovered shape, number, quantity and size.

   

The whole staff discussed the opportunities for maths in our outside environment and developed some activities which would ‘scaffold’ the children’s thinking and prepare them for their week with the artist. We used books, concept maps, walks and explorations (under stones etc.)

During residancy week the staff were actively involved in shadowing the artist, learning from his expertise and recording their observations. Not surprisingly, they saw in action many of the characteristics of creative behaviour listed on the National Curriculum site, click here to view the website.

 
 Click here to view the video clip 'The Headteacher introduces the project'
 
 Click here to view the video clip 'The project unfolds'
 
 Click here to view the video clip 'Teachers discuss what has emerged from the project'
 
Project Update
Creativity Prepares Pupils for Life
By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum should enable pupils to think creatively and critically, to solve problems and to make a difference for the better. It should give them the opportunity to become creative, innovative, enterprising and capable of leadership to equip them for their future lives as workers and citizens.

It should enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and to cope with change and adversity.

Creative thinking and behaviour can be promoted in all curriculum subjects and we have enjoyed the opportunity to use maths as the focus for this project – the children used shape, number, quantity and measures (size and quantity)

Children who are creative will be prepared for a rapidly changing world, where they may have to adapt to several careers in a lifetime. Many employers want people who see connections, have bright ideas, are innovative, communicate and work well with others and are able to solve problems. In other words, they need creative people.

Creativity Enriches Pupils' Lives
By promoting creativity, teachers can give all children the opportunity to discover and pursue their particular interests and talents. We are all, or can be, creative to some degree. Creative pupils lead richer lives and, in the longer term, make a valuable contribution to society.

The Project 
The whole staff discussed the opportunities for maths in our outside environment and developed some activities which would scaffold the children’s thinking and prepare them for their week with the artist. We used books, concept maps, walks and explorations (under stones etc.)

During residency week the staff were actively involved in shadowing the artist and learning from his expertise.

They observed the children and noted:-

Questioning and challenging
Creative pupils being curious, questioning and challenging.
  • they asked 'why?' 'how?' 'what if?'
  • they asked unusual questions – “What shape is a worm”
  • they responded to ideas, questions, tasks or problems in a surprising way
  • they challenged conventions and their own and others' assumptions “Trees can be pink”
  • they thought independently.

Making connections and seeing relationships
Creative pupils thinking laterally and making associations between things that are not usually connected.

  • they recognised the significance of their knowledge and previous experience “We went to the farm and saw baby pigs”
  • they reinterpreted and applied their learning in new contexts
  • they communicated their ideas in novel or unexpected ways “ This is a roller coaster for the 3 pigs”

Exploring ideas, keeping options open
Creative pupils exploring possibilities, keeping their options open and learning to cope with the uncertainty that this brings.

  • they played with ideas, experimented – spots on ladybirds, colour mixing – counting amounts etc
  • they tried alternatives and fresh approaches – using a variety of medium
  • they anticipated and overcame difficulties, following an idea through

Reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes
Creative pupils evaluating critically what they have done.

  • they reviewed progress 
  • asked 'is this a good...?' 'is this what is needed?'
  • invited feedback and incorporated this as needed
  • put forward constructive comments, ideas, explanations and ways of doing things

The staff observed open-ended questioning and an encouragement of critical reflection

  • The artist asked questions such as 'What if...?', 'Why is...?' and 'How might you...?' to help children see things from different perspectives and come up with new ideas
  • He encouraged openness to ideas
  • He stood back and did not give all the answers but provided helpful prompts and modelling – Harry knowing a tent was triangular but struggling to actually make the shape on paper was encouraged to see it as 3 lines with a starting point.

He reviewed work in progress

  • He regularly stopped to review work in progress, discussing the problems and how they could be solved
  • He encouraged children to share ideas with others and to talk about their progress
  • He helped children give and receive constructive feedback (confidence and communication skills are vital for this)
     
 
 

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