Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mandalas: More Than Just Art

Mandalas. . . you see them everywhere these days. They've been made into adult coloring books, tattooed onto skin, framed as artwork.  And yes, while they're lovely to look at, they're so much more than just art!
My students create mandalas as part of our geometry unit. After reading the book, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander, students are anxious to try out the "formula" for circumference. (If you've never read any of her books, go find them NOW!! Neuschwander writes medieval picture books that explain mathematical concepts, told as a story. My kids always love them!! And they remember the concepts!)
First we practice with circular objects in the classroom: bottom of a water bottle, bowls, plates, etc. With a partner, students trace the object, then measure the diameter with a ruler. After multiplying the diameter by 3 to estimate the circumference, then they use a calculator to multiply the diameter by pi: 3.14. Since many kids still don't believe this is the circumference, then they use a tape measure to actually measure around the circle. They're shocked it's the same, every time! :)

Then comes the fun part of teaching the class how to use a compass. Have lots of scratch paper available; it's tricky to master! Once they have their compass mastered, I show many examples of mandalas.
However, I tell them they're not just making art, they need to measure the circles for radius, diameter, and circumference. They're usually so anxious to get started, that they don't mind the math part!
You can click on the recording sheet above to download this recording sheet or click here. Mandalas: sneaking in the math; it's so much more than just art!

Click on the buttons below to read more helpful teaching ideas!

14 comments:

  1. These are beautiful! I love that you have found a way to bring art into your math curriculum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Thanks, Retta! The kids are always amazed at how stunning they turn out!

      Delete
  2. I love your ideas! Your post reminded me of a Pi Day activity I did once where the kids had to "discover" the value of pi. Goes like this: tie a piece of string to sidewalk chalk. One student holds down the string steady while another pulls taught the radius and draws a perfect circle. They repeat with 3 - 5 different size circles. For each circle, they record the diameter ( or 2r) and they measure the circumference with measuring tapes. Once back inside we look at the formula for circumference and they solve for pi. Can't tell you how surprised they are at how close they get to 3.14 every time! If it's actually Pi Day, I also bring in pie. Fun outdoor follow up if you have time! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet your kids loved using the sidewalk chalk!! And how fun to use string with a partner to make perfect circles!! Thanks for the idea, Kerry!

      Delete
  3. I'm so excited by your post! I, too, wrote about combining art and math this week. I LOVE this project. Thank you for the recording sheet. I'm pinning your post for future use. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I'm your newest follower on Bloglovin'!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Tracy! I love all the math in art! Your Monet gardens look amazing!

      Delete
  4. What a great activity. I bet the kids loved it and learned so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deann. They did love it & kept wanting to make more designs!

      Delete
  5. Kathie, I would have loved to have been in your class! I have used so many of your lessons in my class...thanks for sharing... -Vicky

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cool idea. I love the integration of math into art!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa! I love integrating math & art also! And the kids definitely love it (plus it makes for great bulletin boards!)

      Delete
  7. This is such a creative idea!! I love the combination of using left brain and right brain activities in your lesson :) There is something to appeal to different learning styles.

    ReplyDelete