4 projects from world-famous art exhibits your kids can do

There are math exhibitions held in many locations with many themes. The Bridges Conference and Joint Mathematics Meetings are two groups that seek to explore the many ways one might apply math to multiple disciplines, including art. The contributors to these conventions work in many disciplines ranging from mathematics and weaving to dancing and computer science and attract thousands of people annually. The Joint Mathematics Meeting of 2013 had over 6000 attendees!

These events are not only beneficial to adults. People of all ages can learn from art exhibitions. Seeing artwork inspires kids to start projects of their own and expand their artistic abilities.

From our “Do your little kids draw grids?” post

I went through galleries from the 2013 Bridges Conference and the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings and compiled some art pieces great to do with kids.

Jane Adler’s complicated looking tessellations on the quilt she designed for mathematician Marjorie Rice are as simple as drawing and coloring in triangular grids. Learning to work with grid shapes beyond squares can lead into more complex geometric thinking. In time, your kid or student will be working with diamonds, polygons, and more.

Using a combination of square and triangular grids, children can begin to draw mental connections with the way shapes relate to each other in a plane. Much like puzzle pieces fit together, so can polygons. Drawing these connections can inspire kids to look for connections in shapes throughout the world, first in a two-dimensional sense and then a three-dimensional one.

Marc Chamberland describes this exhibit as something even a child could do and he’s right. With markers or other coloring tools, paper, and scissors, kids can learn how squares are constructed from parallel and perpendicular lines and how even the pieces that don’t seem like they would fit together can form perfect squares.

Using a pencil and paper and the images found here, your child can learn how parallel and perpendicular lines can create the illusion of a three-dimensional wireframe. This teaches kids how three-dimensional objects present in the physical world are constructed.

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Marina Mersenne is a student, writer, and autodidact. As a lifetime unschooler, Marina takes part in discussions concerning learning and educational systems. With Moebius Noodles, she hopes to expand on alternative ways of learning and teaching mathematics.

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