George Lucas Educational Foundation

New to PBL - Need help with driving question! Math and Art!!

New to PBL - Need help with driving question! Math and Art!!

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My administrator and I are collaborating on doing project based learning for the last 6 - 7 weeks. The task at hand: Students are given 4 masterpieces in which they have to survey x amount of people and see which artwork is favored among the group. Next as a group they will have to replicate the painting. This will deal with scale, lines, angles, etc. We need some help with a driving question? We understand we should have done that first but we got the ball rolling and we were brainstorming. This is all we have thus far. We think its too broad or even too vague? How does math influence art? Thoughts, help! Note this is for a 5th grade math class but we are integrating it with art :)

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April Whitehead's picture
April Whitehead
6-8th Art teacher in Southeast Texas

What about how math, geometry, and proportions create beauty? The Golden Section was used extensively in Classical and Renaissance art to create harmonious proportions.

Just throwing out ideas: How can math describe what artists create? How do artists use mathematical principles to create?

Also, you could question why certain artworks appeal to viewers, to connect with the survey.
Which artworks are being used?

Joetta's picture

As a WV Innovation Zone school, we began co-taught, co-curricular PBL instruction in the core areas. Our first PBLs were not as good as our later ones, and we found that it is important to design instruction from both ends at the same time. For example, you must think about BOTH the objectives you wish students to meet, AND about their final project: "How do you want them to demonstrate what they have learned?" Then build inward with the activities that support it. Another consideration is that students typically respond to tasks that access their emotions. In one PBL on coal mining versus natural gas energy, students were really "Ho-Hum" when we tried to get them to make a case for either. But when we asked them to make a case for saving endangered species that were affected by coal mining and natural gas drilling, they really dug in! I'm not sure I've answered your question, but I hope it helps.

Sandy Kreisman's picture
Sandy Kreisman
Manager of Education Initiatives at a Community Non-Profit

The masterpiecesproject is not the best way to combine standards in math & art. Using design as a vehicle for math & art is the way to go. You could have chosen to use public art as the collaborative projec rather than the masterpieces and this would have gotten you there. Or, combined art & the natural world and sciences. Looking at the standards and then designing the project is essential. True PBL is a sythesis of all of this and is surely the craetive part for teaches and administrators.

Carol Ann Hough's picture
Carol Ann Hough
Visual arts teacher from Georgia

What about triangular composition that was strongly used during the Renaissance. Why is the triangle considered the strongest shape. How does triangular composition lead the viewer into a painting. Why? Why not use a square or any other shape?

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