We teach at the secondary level, so for us to talk Art & Math in the same classroom, we had to be intentional. We opened up dialogue to learn about each other’s curriculum and combined concepts that aligned. As a result of these conversations, we can assure both administrators and educators that we are covering all necessary content.
We have our students for two full periods which allows them extra time to process content and ask questions from either teacher. For math, students are engaged in a lesson that builds the foundation of a concept but they are revisiting the ideas again through their art projects. They need to have a deeper understanding of concepts because they are creating a product that is personalized. This allows all students to have an entry point and makes learning more memorable.
Students are able to adapt projects to their learning needs. Our enriched students are able to push themselves to demonstrate a deeper level of understanding as a result of the flexibility of each project. Sometimes these opportunities challenge them to go beyond curriculum expectations. Students who are reluctant learners are willing to challenge themselves because they have an idea for a project that they want to see through; even if it makes the math expectation more challenging.
Our research also suggests that students retain information longer when working in collaboration with a hands on approach.
And Yes! We frame homework. We have “gallery walks” where students circle the classroom and analyze each others art of math work. Projects are personalized so they gain an understanding of different approaches to answer a question. Students gain confidence sharing with their peers and the community in our annual art of math show.
As educators we also know that to teach something you must really understand it. Our students share their work with their peers, but also with other stand alone math and art classes who are covering similar concepts just not combined.