Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How do we use maths in visual arts?

To find out a way we use mathematical thinking in artmaking and to connect with our enquiry into ratios / proportions / rates, we began learning how to enlarge or shrink drawings using scale ratios.

I explained how back in the day before laptops, we at school really needed to master this strategy whenever we wanted to draw a picture of something large on posters.  Today, of course, we just enlarge or shrink an image from Google and print n cut.

But, despite scale drawing being a 'dying' skill, it greatly helps develop stronger drawing skills and has a practical connection with how we use ratios in real life situations.

We began by finding a simple object and drew it to its exact scale (or size) and noted this is written as:

Scale  1 : 1

What does that actually mean?

- 1 cm in real life = 1 cm on the paper

Exactly.

Some chose to draw paintbrushes, cups, glue sticks, pens, coins etc. The simpler the object to draw, the easier it will be for our first try but feel free to challenge yourself.

After our initial drawings, we drew grids over the objects and then decided whether we wanted to enlarge or shrink the object.

Some of us chose to double the object, triple it, quadruple it!

Others chose to halve it and one student challenged himself to try to shrink the object to an eighth of the original.

This is the type of great learning that happens when we give children ownership of their learning rather than dictating what they should do.

So, to enlarge or shrink the image, what do we need to do to the grid on our next page?

This is an interesting problem solving activity so I didn't explain what to do. Instead, the children needed to reason what would make sense to do.

Of course, for some, this was an easy thinking task, but others did need to experiment with different ideas and then step back to analyse if what they did made sense.

Showing mine as an example, I did though explain how we use the grid to create our images.

The hint I gave was to always look where that each line in the object interepts the line on the grid.

Mentally use fractions.

Does the line intercept the grid at the halfway mark?  at a quarter mark? Just below the halfway mark? etc

By using mental fractions as a strategy, we will be able to create more accurate enlargements of shrinkings.

From this we learnt further how we use mathematical thinking in art.

We are still in the beginning stages, but eventually when we complete our images, we will think about the scale ratio our drawing is and add it to them.

I'll post more as our enquiry continues........