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Lesson Plans

Re: art/math interest.....

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Bunki Kramer (
Thu, 25 Dec 1997 19:10:04 -0700

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You wrote....
>Very interested in your post on art'n'math lessons you developed. I
>will look them up. I am finding some synergies between perceptual
>skills in drawing, aka Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (which I
>teach) and the spatial/intuitive skills that underlie fluency in many
>math areas, not only geometry. I believe many early math difficulties
>(which often last a lifetime) could be avoided by consistently linking
>symbolic ("math") cognitive mode (formerly called "left brain") with
>visual/spacial cognitive mode (formerly called "right brain"). I would
>like to know more about your creative program ideas in this area.

Hi, Marc......

I've found very few people who have made the connection between art and
math and are using it....sometimes making the mystery of math so much more
assessible to all levels of students.

About 8 yrs. ago I also did some research into Betty Edwards. I then later
got hooked on Mona Brooks. Have you read the latter's material? She has had
two books out for some time now. I use some of M. Brooks' ideas with
drawing in my own classes and firmly believe you can teach anyone to draw

However, I don't find the connection of these two authors and that of
math...other than the brain activities of the two sides being different.
What I try to do is teach abstract math ideas USING concrete art materials.
I teach all levels of middle school students...7th and 8th grade...diff.
math abilities and advanced (high school level) down to resource level in
one classroom. I generally find I cannot tell which is which until I hit
the order of operations. Once we past that stage, again there seems to be
no disconcernable difference. Also...generally I find the lower level kids
doing much better artwork than the upper level. A very humbling experience
for the higher guys. We do number sequencing, fractions, operations,
geometry (a "given"), algebra, through platonic solids, and end with some
calculus. Some of it is pretty heavy stuff. I have to teach it as an art
elective....but I'd say it's more math than anything. I don't give tests
and there's no homework. What a way to learn math, hummmm? All projects for
grading are in art form.

I also teach this in two courses...ART N' MATH I and ART N' MATH II...for
teachers for Univ. of Phoenix. It's generally filled with math teachers
and I find it a kick that an art teacher is teaching math....two sides of
the brain.

Not only is math "spatial" but much logic and creativity is involved in
just the math part....also the use of rearranging and substitution. This
brings to mind a recent post of Lily Kerns where she mentioned SCAMPER...a
list of creative thinking techniques....

S Substitute
C Combine
A Adapt
M Modify, minify, magnify
P Put to other uses
E Elaborate
R Reverse, Rearrange *(thank you Lily)

It's easy to see all these taking place in the math mind as well as the
art- minded.

If I have any problems with students, it's usually due to math fear. The
old "I can't do that" thing. Once we get rid of that, it's smooth sailing.
How many math teachers can say that when their kids finish a project early,
students race to the extra credit box to pull out extra algebra problems to
solve for creative fun?


Bunki Kramer
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526

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