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Math and Art

I'm a math guy, but I appreciate art of all forms. Statues, paintings, architecture, interpretive dance. Well, not so much that last one. My favorite art tends to be sort of "mathy" in nature. My favorite painters are Jackson Pollock, Wassily Kandinsky, and Salvador Dali. From my desk you can see the Kandinsky hanging on my classroom wall as well as a print by MC Escher near my door.



One of the best activities I've had students complete while teaching geometry over the years is to create tessellations using transformations. It's a great tie-in for math and artistic expression. Fortunately teaching eight grade this year here in China we just finished a geometry unit including transformations. This was my favorite submission this year.



And a few others that were worthy of sharing.



When I ask students what they remember from my class this is usually the activity that gets mentioned the most.


Last year at Meridian High School I had a weird thing happen. While introducing this tessellation activity I was showing off some exemplars so students had an idea of what was possible. A few years back a young lady named Chelsea Gilmore had opted to reproduce an original Escher print that looks like lizards. Her use of mathematics in this recreation were done very well and it turned out great. I used it for many years. How many? A lot. So I'm standing in front of a class holding it up and talking about Chelsea. A young man in the back row raises his hand. Mr. Shick, that's my mom. Immediately I felt considerably older.


Yo, Shane. I think the boy I'm talking about is a junior basketball player. What's his name?

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