Math and Art

Many years ago, I team-taught a class called “Math and Art” with my then-colleague Stephen Thomas, who was an art teacher at The Urban School. Like most such endeavors at any school, the class was short-lived — I believe we offered it twice. However it was not in vain: some of that curriculum found its way into my geometry teaching, and some into my Space class. Nowadays, Stephen is the head of The Oxbow School in Napa, CA, a residential one-semester program for high school juniors, focused on the visual arts.

In 2012-13, Stephen hired Nora Rodriguez, an Urban School alum and young artist, to teach math at Oxbow. Nora threw herself into the job and came up with some wonderful math-art connections of her own, which she has now posted here.

Her site is well worth a visit, both as a source of specific teaching ideas on various Algebra 2 / Precalc topics, and as evidence that math class can be more than a slog through a boring textbook. I was pleased to see the paintings that look like function diagrams, but my favorite activities on Nora’s site are the ones where the math gets off the page and reaches human scale (see especially Law of Cosines and Unit Circle)


Nora has moved on to other pursuits now, so I am especially grateful that she has shared her ideas with the rest of us.


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