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Archive of posts filed under the Art category.

Math Photo: Bond Angles

Bond Angles

I love the way the struts of this structure come together and align with the geometry of the city.


Math Haiku: Geometry Class

I personally enjoy writing, and as a math teacher I love getting my students writing about math.

One of my favorite writing assignments for students is math-themed haiku.  The rigid constraints of haiku make it an easy exercise, it allows students to access and interact with mathematical ideas in a different and creative way, and the elegance and efficiency of the for evoke the character of mathematics itself.

Here are some selections from this year’s Geometry class.  Enjoy!

We are both equal

We look exactly the same

We are congruent

Postulates assumed

Leading to certain theorems

Web of proof and math

Three lines have converged

Meeting at a single point

They are concurrent

Scalene triangles

Angles are dissimilar

Sides are unalike


A simple explanation

For congruent things

Math is easy now

Calculators do all the work

Sit back and relax

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Math Art: Twilight on Mars

I was playing around in Scratch this weekend, experimenting with some numerical methods for approximating integrals, when this lovely image unexpectedly emerged.  I call it Twilight on Mars.

Integration Art

Twilight on Mars

Looks like I’ve got a new math and art project for students, and me, to explore!

George Hart Workshop on Symmetry

Through Math for America, I had the pleasure of participating in a one-day workshop on symmetry led by well-known mathematician/computer scientist/sculptor George Hart.  The workshop featured some great math and some excellent hands-on projects that really had us exploring some deep mathematical ideas.

We began the day by talking a bit about what symmetry is and the types of symmetries we’re accustomed to thinking about.  Then we explored how the symmetries of a given object, when thought of as actions (like reflections or rotations), form a group, which creates an interesting mathematical structure to work with.

After the introductory mathematics, George led us through three hands-on activities meant to explore different symmetry groups.

The first project was building a Tunnel Cube from a set of pre-cut playing cards.  The 12 cards were notched in such a way that the piece could be assembled without any glue or tape.

Tunnel Cube

It did, however, require a great deal of dexterity and patience!  You can see George’s explanation of the Tunnel Cube here, and watch a video in which he assembles it here.

The second project was building a ruled hyperboloid using kebab skewers and rubber bands.

Ruled Hyperboloid

The last project was a group build, where we assembled a George Hart original sculpture.  This was a bit harder than I imagined, but the process was full of the small frustrations and successes that good collaborative work entails.

George Hart Sculpture

In addition to the fun project ideas, the big takeaway for me was using symmetry as a design parameter.  While we assembled, and then admired, the final sculpture, George talked a little bit about his creative process.  By thinking first of symmetries, and symmetry groups in particular, he outlines a design space for a particular piece, and then starts playing around in that space until he finds what he’s looking for.  Each of the projects emphasized that idea with a different symmetry group.

Many thanks to George Hart, and Math for America, for an enriching day!  You can see more pictures from the workshop here.

Math Photo: Obtuse Art

Obtuse Art

I really like the shape of this midtown-Manhattan sculpture.  Whenever attempts are made to define or quantify beauty, symmetry is one of the first considerations.  But this obtuse,scalene triangle is decidedly unsymmetric.

Maybe its lack of symmetry makes it more noticeable as a piece of public art.