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• Thank you for sharing! There are so many age appropriate connections between art and math, but it's sometimes more difficult for people to see the connections at the secondary level until they enter into intentional conversations. We are now in the third cohort of Art of Math and we see new opportunties for these subjects to partner together each time we go through it. We love platforms like this where we are able to have open conversations with like-minded educators and answer any questions they may have.

• We have a really great starter lesson available on our website.

For math, it covers the concepts of linear patterns using visual representations as well as tables, equations and graphs. For art, it covers the concepts of colour theory and shading with colour using pencil crayons. This lesson has been used in Grade 7 and 8 classrooms and we use a similar version with our Grade 9 class.

We usually cover these concepts start of our unit on linear relations with painting. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their prior knowledge while working in groups to help facilitate conversation and support from peers if needed.

Students demonstrate mastery through their own examples. They can choose colour shading techniques and also the level of complexity of their math example. For enrichment, we have had students complete decreasing patterns before the topic is covered in class, we ask students to create non-linear patterns, or represent their pattern in a table or visual representation but skip position numbers. Some students have also done projects that include a fractional multiplier that lead to some very creative visual representations.

In our class, students continue this unit with landscape paintings to further demonstrate their painting techniques.

• Thank you, that gives a great overview of what learning looks like in the combined classroom.

Creating something new and innovative often takes incredible perseverance and a willingness to not accept the first “no.” I’ve had the good fortune to moderate panels with education innovators such as Sunil Singh (@Mathgarden ), author of Math Recess: Playful Learning in an Age of Disruption, and I’ve come away with the sense that changing the traditional paradigms of education is hard. And it can often feel like a quixotic quest.

What advice can you provide to educators who want to incorporate your program into their classroom, or who want to create and implement learning innovations of their own?

• Start small. We started with a cross curricular project to sample what it would be like to bundle two courses together.  We worked very hard to legitimize our program and be certain the students were gaining new skills and not losing content.

Students with math anxiety were enjoying their work. Students who thought they weren’t artistic were able to express themselves creatively.

When you face challenges starting something new, it’s important to take time and reflect on the bigger picture of what motivated you to start in the first place.  It always came back to the students and parent feedback for us to feel we were making a difference. We would encourage anyone starting out to stay the path. Seek out people who will help motivate you.

Although it was not our main focus, our students did very well on the province’s standardized testing and that helped people realize what we were doing was working.

We have a video of “six quick tips to getting started bundling courses”.

We are also working on a educator’s book that will be available in 2020 about approaches and strategies to bundling courses. Our ArtGram book is a nice introductory sample project if you’re looking to blend Art and Math.

• This is a great question! One of the first steps in outlining the projects for the bundle was to sit with our curriculum and align topics that we thought would fit together. The Ontario Math curriculum follows a bit of a different flow. In Grade 9, students learn measurement, algebra, linear functions and geometry. Typically we would teach those topics in stand alone units, but in the bundle we are able to revisit topics that relate to the project we are working on. For example, we covered volume in our first project and again in our fourth. Determine the equations of lines comes up in three of our units. This method of teaching is called “spiralling”. It has been shown to help students with retention because they have multiple opportunities to connect with the topics. We know that math in the US is taught differently at the secondary level in some States, but the same process could be used to determine art projects that align with content. Teachers at the elementary level are able to integrate even more topics into a project. Some of the projects we cover have connections to Science, Business, English or History. Teaching the bundle has been such a great exercise in delving deeper into curriculum expectations and learning what others are doing within our building.

• How can we best keep up with you? Final thoughts?

• Thank you for this amazing opportunity to connect with a new community! If you didn’t get a chance to watch our TEDx, it’s the best way to summarize our program and initiatives.

We share a lot of what we are doing through social media. The best place to find current projects and events would be through Twitter and Instagram using our handle: @ArtofMathEd. We would love to see what others are doing with their students as well!

We have published several classroom ready resources that are available on Amazon. ArtGram is a book for grades 7-9 combining Art and Math activities.

We are currently working on a new educators’ book that will be available Spring 2020. Join our mailing list on our website if you’d like to be contacted when it’s ready.

Or email us at: artofmathed@gmail.com

A final photo of our students showcasing a collaborative piece at Museum London in London, Ontario.

• Thank you for reaching out! We have never attended this conference but will definitely look into submitting a proposal. We have heard amazing things about the education system in Finland. It would be an incredible opportunity!