STEAMed Magazine January 2016 - Page 13

Make Your Own Self-LeWitt Next, students are asked to take on the role of the artist and create a set of instructions for a piece of artwork, and, at the same time, make the finished drawing to be used as a “key.” Students are often asked to use specific mathematical vocabulary in their instructions, but are encouraged to be creative in designing their own artwork. When students are finished, they swap their instructions with a partner to attempt to reproduce the original drawing. If needed, they are allowed to confer with the original artist and then edit the original instructions. Finished drawings are displayed side-by-side and students discuss the similarities and differences between the two drawings, and the challenges of being the artist versus the draftsman. Students are often surprised to see how someone else interprets their instructions and discussions frequently center on what is a correct interpretation and how the instructions could be modified to be more precise. This clarifies and reinforces their understanding of the mathematical concepts and strengthens foundational knowledge. Making a Final Wall Drawing As a culminating activity, I often create a wall sized mural, similar to the large scale Sol LeWitt wall drawings. Of course, the instructions are always included, posted on the wall nearby for all to read. Fifth grade students in Manchester, CT are shown below working on a wall mural they designed as part of their exploration of the art of Sol LeWitt. Students wrote the instructions; an excerpt is shown below. In the top left square, draw a NOT straight horizontal line to divide the square in half. Color the top half red and the bottom half green. In the top right square, draw a diagonal line starting at the top left and ending at the bottom right. Color the top right triangle yellow. Divide the bottom triangle in half with a line perpendicular to the diagonal. Color the bottom triangle blue. Middle School students in New Haven, CT designed this wall mural as part of their Algebra class. The instructions for this are all algebraic equations and systems of inequalities; an excerpt is shown below. STEAMed Magazine 13 January 2016 Edition