If you're looking for a math art activity I highly recommend teaching your kids about Tessellations! Tessellations are repetitive patterns of shapes that fit perfectly together across a 2-dimensional plane of space (think of how floor tiles fit together, or the graphic artist M.C. Escher).
Creating tessellations is the perfect project for someone like my 8 year old, who loves fun math activities, yet needs a little extra encouragement when it comes to art: it's creative but still systematic. You can use regular shapes like diamonds or other polygons, but it's much more fun to make patterns with an irregular shape.
How to make tessellations:
The first thing you need is a square of heavy paper. I (cleverly) stuck a post-it on card stock to help my son cut a regular square.
- Draw two lines from corner to corner with the starting points of both lines in the same corner. It is not important that these lines are identical or of a certain arc. The only important quality is that they start and end in a corner.
- Cut along the lines.
- Tape the cutout segments to the opposite sides of the square.
- Use pattern (our resembled a gingko leaf!) to trace shape onto paper, fitting each new shape along the outline of the previous one.
Finally, once you've satisfactorily filled up your paper, color it in to your heart's desire!
Kiddo decided to use his neon colored pencils and we ended up with some very bright artwork!
Watch our video!
Or, click the image below for more totally awesome ways to combine math and art: