Put on Your Math Goggles! Seeing Math in a Jasper Johns

Second graders at All Saints’ Episcopal School recently donned their math goggles and engaged in an exploration of place value using the visual arts as a lens.

Students learned about the American painter, Jasper Johns (1930 – present), famous for his iconic targets, maps, and flags, and then created their own color numeral in the spirit of Johns’ “Color Numeral Series” (1969).

After coloring their individual numerals, the teacher gave clues, challenging the students to collaborate with classmates to form the number answer using their art. For example, students were challenged to create the largest 4-digit number possible using their Johns-like masterpieces, or create a three-digit odd number with a 5 in the tens place. During this activity, a multitude of questions were asked, all focused on place value, which required the students to think and communicate mathematically, all the while using their colorful number art for their solutions!

The second grade teacher then transformed a school hallway into an art gallery, showcasing her students’ mathematical masterpieces.

Does your school do something similar?

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