With all of the recent focus on STEM, it seems as if we’ve forgotten the role art can play in helping students master complicated concepts, practice skills, and increase critical thinking.
The truth is that some STEM concepts are tailor-made for practicing with art projects. Here are a few:
Tessellations are repetitive shapes that fill a two-dimensional space. Any shape will work. The concepts being practiced include spatial recognition, measurement, and visualization.
Remember the plastic wheels that you would spin around on paper to create repetitive patterns that eventually made a shape or design? Most of those operated on parabolic curves. This project calls for students to create a similar design, but without the help of the wheel. Skills practiced include measurement, spatial recognition, and many geometry concepts.
We’re all familiar with the Fibonacci sequence. This project (the original post calls for Valentines, but it can work for many different purposes) simply asks students to make shapes in which the measurements build on themselves. As you know, in the sequence the next number is made up of the sum of the previous two numbers. That concept forms your measurements.
3-D technology takes this art and science color theory lesson to amazing depths. Through manipulation and juxtaposition of color, a 2-D piece of artwork is transformed when viewed with 3-D glasses. This lesson correlates with science, not only in subject matter, but also in experiencing how the eye perceives and processes color wavelengths in this optical illusion.
A lot of art can be made using the tools of math and engineering. Using a protractor and compass (as well as a projector, but that’s optional), students made these bright designs reminiscent of the artist Frank Stella. They look like they could also be stained glass windows.
Now we’re really starting to get into visualization techniques. A Mobius strip is a shape with only one side. Although it sounds theoretical, apparently it’s not because you can make one. Think of an infinity symbol.