Exploring the Connection Between Math and the Arts

Math and the Arts(c) inarik / iStock via Getty Images Plus

While often thought of as two completely distinct subjects, art and math are intrinsically entwined. Not only can learning the fundamentals of one subject help a student excel in the other, but combining the subjects can make the traditionally intimidating field of math more accessible and approachable.

As more attempts are being made to integrate the arts into STEM learning at school, you can reinforce the intersection at home in the following ways:

• Explore history: Encourage your child to read books that explore the collision of art and math, such as “The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number.” While authored by an astrophysicist, it’s meant for readers of all backgrounds to enjoy.

• Say cheese: Photography incorporates many mathematical principles. Take a photography course together to examine how focal length, aperture and shutter speed affect images.

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• Visualize it: Be sure your child is equipped with a top-notch graphing calculator that provides visual support for mathematical exploration. Using a graphing calculator, students can apply mathematical formulas to create their own designs, art and even drawings. Look for a high-definition, easy-to-operate option, such as the fx-CG50 graphing calculator from Casio, which has the programming language Python built right into it, giving students the freedom to program the calculator to creatively arrive at solutions. Or check out Classpad.net, a free, all-encompassing online calculator alternative, with all the functionality of a handheld calculator.

• Enjoy fine arts: From the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher and his world-famous lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings, to the contemporary American sculptor Bathsheba Grossman who uses 3-D printing and computer programming to design mathematical sculptures, there are many visual artists for whom math is the very basis of their work. Take time to explore their collections and get inspired.

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With a hands-on approach to mathematics and art, you can help your child foster a love of both subjects.

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