STEAMed Magazine January 2016 - Page 11

D uring the 1960s, the art world was full of turmoil. Artists like Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, and Willem de Kooning were questioning the nature of art in an effort to determine its essential quality. These artists believed the concept or idea behind the artwork should take precedence over the actual creation of the work. One of the leaders of this movement, called Conceptual Art, was a Connecticut artist by the name of Sol LeWitt. Sol Lewitt was famous for a series of abstract, large-scale wall drawings based on this theory of conceptual art. Like the composer of a musical score, LeWitt wrote instructions for his paintings and let others, often trained draftsmen, actually create the paintings. These abstract wall paintings often include geometric shapes, patterns, and mathematical combinations and permutations that can be used as a springboard for teaching math. Using Sol LeWitt’s Art to Teach Math I have used Sol LeWitt’s methodology to teach various math concepts to students as young as third grade all the way through high school. I usually begin a project by introducing students to Sol LeWitt’s theory of Conceptual Art and together we read a number of his instructions while viewing the related wall drawing. A square divided horizontally and vertically into four equal parts, each with a different direction of alternating parallel bands of lines On black walls, all two-part combinations of white arcs from corners and sides, and white straight, not-straight, and broken lines. STEAMed Magazine 11 January 2016 Edition