Sunday, July 28, 2013

Here are some topics that we might look at in the Math For Artists blog (and in class with Mr. Mac)

What is the approach in "Math For Artists"?
This figure comes from "Golden Ratio"
- Make the learning visible, so it is a "visual and active" approach.
- Use "normal" vocabulary.   Who says "Hypotenuse" or who even writes that word outside a math classroom?  "the longest side of the triangle."  How would you talk about a math exercise with your grandmother?  (well, there are some grandparents who expect you to use words like "denominator" and "quotient" and "matrix" and "annulus" and "apothem."  You don't need those words for a high SAT math score.  You can click here and find more words.)
- Make the math personal.  Look at the math that will be used in the student's selected profession and teach through that profession.
If I want to be an artist, then I want to study ratios using the golden mean that the great painters used.  

The Greeks believed there to be three 'ingredients' to beauty: symmetryproportion, and harmony. This triad of principles infused their life. They were very much attuned to beauty as an object of love and something that was to be imitated and reproduced in their lives, architecture, education (Paideia) and politics. They judged life by this mentality.  from Wikipedia about the Golden Mean (philosophy)
Symmetry  ... We discuss the symmetry in triangles and other figures.
Proportion (ratio)
Harmony.   Hmmm, is there a math concept for harmony?  Let's discuss.

- Mechanics and Concepts.  We talk about the idea, but then we practice it... a lot.  
- Flexible.  We can use calculators, paper and pen, and our mental math.  Here is an example showing how to build mental math by doing "hands on" practice.  Let's use color and visual elements (marking pens) to do the math.  We can become flexible because we practice with a calculator and with pencil and paper and I'd like to add a "math journal" for every student.

- Math is Physical.  Many people who use pencil or pen and paper understand more than many people who work on tablets and using calculators.   Here is a report about the importance of using pencil and paper.

Here are ten tips                 Here are some pen and paper games 

While we are looking at reports involving math and testing, here's a study from Australia.
A correct answer did not always correspond to "understanding" 
and, for an educationally significant proportion of responses, students who did 
understand the main concept(s). involved in a question gave incorrect answers. 
The findings of our research fly in the face of continued widespread usage of 
pencil-and-paper tests to assess mathematical understandings in all parts of the world.

I like this BLOG:  math without tears

There is something about the "doing of the problem", about the "using of the pen or pencil" that helps children learnI don't meant that "helps them 'remember'". We've all known that for a long time. But now we know that "the doing" actually helps children "learn". We now know that there are some children who learn by doing, by moving, by writing, by some sort of physical motion. And for them, it is in the actual doing of the work that they "get it". Using and moving concrete items (blocks, counting sticks, pennies) to solve problem is a must for these kids. Walking, physically moving, through the steps in the problem is also important for these children. But along with these actions, we know that there are those children, for whom it it a terrible mistake to restrict the pencil and paper. We rob them of their way of learning. For these students, there is a need for clear step-by-step procedures to follow and practice, practice, until they figure it out because this is the way they figure it out.

How do we blend the Elements of Design and the principles of Design with the math textbook?
Can you name the elements of design? L S D S T C V
What are the principles of design?  B G R C H U D  (see bottom of this post) in Australia has a nice list...

How do we create a balance between "test prep" and "life prep"?  Put the life prep in Skills in Miami and focus on test prep in this blog.

The blog called "Skills in Miami" is about the life skills that I'd like to see covered by my students before they leave high school.  Many of the issues raised in the blog will be observed in my classroom and in the hallways, before and after school and during lunch.

I'm going to post videos in a separate youtube channel for Skills in Miami and for Math For Artists, since students will be REQUIRED to visit the Math for Artists channel and blog, but they will have to bump into or use their own initiative to find the Skills in Miami blog.  I won't point to the Skills in Miami blog during class time.  The experiment will be "How many views will the Skills in Miami blog get if I don't mention it in class?"

Topics that we'll look at in Math for Artists include:
How much money can a person earn using blog posts and youtube uploads?  How much money could we plan to park for the future?

Finances, especially personal finances.  Begin wiht the end in mind:  I see all of my students leaving high school with a financial plan, a checking account and a YouTube account (if they want the YouTube account) that is monetized (connected to the checking acocunt).  Why?  Students can earn money from the views, so why not?

What is the math behind design?  What makes something pretty or appealing or attractive?  What is the math behind "attractive"?
See this blog post and look at the photos of the principles of design (line, space, symmetry, etc.)

What is the math behind psychology?  Here's a fascinating article with plenty of math in it.  If this article is adopted as part of the Math for Artists curriculum, what discussions will we have?  
For example, look at these sentences:   While a low waist-hip ratio accounts for 7 percent of the variance in general intelligence, in studies he conducted at the University of Albany (New York), where he is professor of psychology, he has found that it accounts for a sizable 20 percent of variance in social intelligence.

Today’s super-skinny fashion model is actually quite different from the women men find most attractive. At 70 inches she is taller than 99 percent of American women, and her weight of 115 pounds gives her a BMI of just 16.5, lower than that of most women in food-poor countries like Bangladesh. Two-thirds of fashion models have BMIs of less than 17, compared with just 6 percent of Playmates. While the fashion model’s waist is larger than a Playmate’s, her hip size is much smaller relative to her height, just 46 percent vs. 53 percent in Playmates.
There is much to discuss in these paragraphs, and I hope to use the math for artists approach to making 

What math do we need to get through the SAT?  Not trig, not pre-caclculus, not calculus, not Algebra 2 (the formulae for circles, ellipses and hyperbolae or the identity matrix or the inverse matrix).

What math does Dan Pink use in his books?  Can we replicate his  analysis?  See this article.

The information that the students generate will lead to discussions.  I look forward to discovering new ways of defining "math for artists" by listening to my students.  They will identify additional topics to study.

I begin this experiment with the clear acknowledgement:  academics is perhaps 25% of my job.  The remaining part will appear in Skills in Miami.  This blog is about the math homework and classwork that I plan to develop for students to explore.  I designed a curriculum for a school in England.   The Skills in Miami blog will reflect much of what was presented in that report.

Send your suggestions to and text to +1 (954) 646 8246.  I turn off the phone at mealtimes and at night, so you will often get an opportunity to leave a message.  I'm sometimes on Skype SteveEnglishTeacher.  Twitter @FreeEnglish.

L__ne         Sh__          Dir_____  S___z_      T____xt___  C__l__r   V___l___e  or T___ne

Bal_________    Gr____d______    R__p__t_____   C___ntr____st   H___rmony  Un___ty    D___min____

can math class be about art, design, balance?   Why not include a math journal where handwriting is encouraged...  calligraphy... Go to JohnLovett's blog

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