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Kathy Reyes: Math + Art = Fun

Kathy Reyes is a 3rd grade teacher of a self-contained, bilingual class at the HISD K-8 Rice School/La Escuela Rice.  She has taught for 25 years and has been at the Rice School since 2002.  She attended the RUSMP Summer Campus Program for the first time last summer.

During a visit to her class a few days ago, I saw on one of the walls of her room was displayed a “Museo de Matematica”.






She said that the activity came from RUSMP’s Robin Ward who visited the Elementary class for a day during the Summer Campus Program last summer.  Robin is passionate about integrating art and mathematics and encourages both teachers and students to put on their math goggles while looking at art work.  Here is a video of students talking about the art pieces they created that were modeled after Piet Mondrian’s art work.

Piet Mondrian:      

 Kathy’s student:   

Speaking of art and mathematics, I just learned that the first Museum of Mathematics in North America opened in New York City in December 2012.  CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece about the museum…watch it here.

When the CBS News interviewer Mo Rocca confessed to museum founder, Glen Whitney that “I loved math. I loved algebra. I really loved geometry, [but] I hit the wall at pre-cal,” Whitney responded, “…you were only given one road to go through mathematics. You got the impression that once you hit the wall, that’s it. There’s nothing more for you. In fact, math is this extremely, very beautiful landscape. And we’re showing people just one road cut right through the center of it.”  The museum exhibits include a square-wheeled tricycle that somehow “rides like a dream” according to Rocca, and a screen that you stand in front of that displays a fractal version of you by using 3 cameras and video feedback loops…very cool.  You can view photos of people enjoying the exhibit here.

Kathy has helped her students traverse the beautiful landscape of mathematics, and they were brimming with pride when they shared their art work.   Kathy, thank you for letting RUSMP witness your enthusiasm and creativity for a day.


17 Responses to “Kathy Reyes: Math + Art = Fun”

  1. alicia says:

    Math and art is a cross curriculum experience and our children should have real world connection. Teaching in isolation does not teaching with a deeper meaning.

  2. Math and art go hand and hand like peanut butter and jelly. I do intend to continue setting up my lessons to include both and even incorporate music.

  3. Keitha Woodard says:

    Dr. Robin Ward’s presentation on the arts proves that it is still a very important concept in teaching. In many schools across the nation, teaching art has been deleted from the curriculum. Therefore, it is very important that all teachers integrate art in other subject areas. If we introduce artist like Jasper Johns, Paul Klee, and Wayne Thiebaud, students will gain new knowledge of how important art is in math.

  4. Alma Adams says:

    This is a great display Kathy. I was fortunate to be a participant in a visit by Dr. Ward to RUSMP this summer. I am really looking forward to introducing these ideas to my students in the fall. We did an interpretive drawing of Paul Klee’s Castle and Sun using geometric shapes that were provided to us. We then assigned values to the shapes we used to make the drawings. I chose to use dollar and cents amounts. I can imagine my students enjoying making the drawings as well as assigning a value to the entire project even though this part might be challenging for some.

  5. Marie Henry says:

    The session that Kathy introduced was very interested and exciting. I learned many things that I can take back to my class.

  6. Sanjuanita Mottu says:

    I met Kathy last year during the RUSMP Program in the K-3 class. It was awesome working with her and learning from her great ideas. She truly became a mentor. Reading her blog was a wonderful experience because she planned and acted on her ideas. We had the privilege to hear Dr. Ward and all her wonderful activities in connecting math through art. I absolutely love it. Seeing Kathy’s kids expressing their knowledge has put a smile to my face because I know that my kids can also do this in y classroom. Moving to third grade scared me at first but I know that the idea from Dr. Ward, Kathy and RUSMP will help y students succeed. Thank you Kathy for sharing your experience. Thank you Dr. Ward for the wonderful activates and ideas you have bestowed upon us. Thank you RUSMP for the two wonderful ad unforgettable summers. It has been a blessing.

  7. Byron Geter says:

    I think that art and math are great for students who find math boring. It allows them to see things they may not have recognized in everyday art. It shows many shapes and patterns which is important in geometry.

  8. DeMetria Jones says:

    I absolutely love how Kathy has transformed her classroom and instruction to feature art in math. After hearing Dr. Robin Ward speak, I feel it is pertinent that we expose students to different opportunities for experiencing math. Since we all have different learning styles, this allows students to express how they understand the concept through art. The exposure to art and literature will help students retain the information because of the experience. I am thoroughly excited about magnifying my math lessons with art.

  9. Guadalupe Rodriguez says:

    Since I was able to experience these types of activities first hand yesterday, I believe teaching math through art is a fantastic way to engage students. I love how students are able to be original with their art work yet they are able to practice the same mathematical skill. One thing I noticed, creating art work really relaxes the mind. I noticed myself thinking a lot more, but it did not feel like work. I enjoyed every moment of it. Once I looked back to see all that I had done, I noticed how much I had learned while I felt like I was expressing my creativity. This past school year I had a very creative and unique group of students. I can see where these types of activities would of been awesome lessons to use in the classroom. I loved the term I learned, “Productive Silence”. It is a great way to calm the students down in a very positive manner. I most definitely plan to use art to teach math in the coming school year.

    G. Rodriguez

  10. Byron Geter says:

    I think that the incorporating of math and art in the classroom is good for students, especially the ones who have problems in math. I think that it really helps with seeing geometry in shapes and other forms of math. Having Robin Ward come back to our class reinforced the importance of art and math.

  11. Sandra Perez says:

    Kathy you did a great job! You help the kids open their minds and look at details on the original art work, then brought out their creativity by allowing them to express how they would use the geometrical shapes and the minimal use of color. You have demonstrated how art and math can go hand in hand in the classroom.

    Fantastic Work,
    Sandra P.

  12. Melissa Merritt says:

    I loved what Kathy did in her classroom. She really took Dr. Ward’d ideas and put them into practice. I liked watching the video and seeing how involved the kids were in the process. Dr. Ward’s ideas really clicked with me because I find it to be very important to implement the arts in our classroom. We need to create experiences where students with different talents can feel successful.

    Growing up my parents took me to a lot of museums. I have seen many paintings by Monet, Warhal, and Van Gogh. It was interesting to see the connections Dr. Ward made with mathematics and how implementing the richness of counting, 3D objects, and patterns into math can make a difference.

    I am really excited to teach her lessons on Paul Klee with fractions next year. I am looping with my class and I have a handful of artists in classroom. I know this will be a wonderful lesson for my students to compare numbers/fractions using the “Farblafel” painting.

    Kathy’s classroom and ideas gave great insight into what the possibilities can take place in our classroom.

  13. Rosalyn Vitatoe says:

    I had the opportunity to experience Dr. Ward’s presentation on Art in Mathematics on yesterday. The fact that children’s love of creating art and using color can be used to teach math is facsinating to me. I found myself enthralled in the activities that we participated in. The presentation opened my eyes to a whole new approach to math strategies. I am sure that Kathy felt the same way as I do when she saw Dr. Ward’s presentation. Like Kathy I can’t wait to be able to incoporate Dr. Ward’s ideas in my own class. Thanks Kathy for your presentation.

  14. Leslie Johnston says:

    I really enjoyed Robin’s visit with us yesterday. Her ideas that incorporated math and art in the classroom were fun and exciting. I am anxious to start planning workstations based on her presentation. Last year, I started themed writing boxes centered around nursery rhymes, insects, etc. which included activities for both math and language arts. I look forward to creating the same with art themes! 🙂

  15. Phuong-Anh Hill says:

    What you did was amazing…. After reading your Blog and observing Dr. Ward’s presentation when she was in our class this summer, I feel pretty confident in teaching and creating Math-terpieces with my students. I think they are going to enjoy learning Mathematics in a fun and creative way. Thanks for the awesome ideas:-)

  16. sharon grimm says:

    I think Kathy did a great job incorporating art in her classroom. I think it is so important to be able to expose the kids to art and math is a great way to do it. Dr. Ward showed us so many resources and ways to use art in math. Since a lot of the schools have cut art teachers due to funding this is a good way to still have the kids doing some kind of art. You want to expose to children to all different forms of expression and this is just one.

  17. Rickey says:

    Math and art combines two of my personal loves under one subject, math and art. I feel this is a great idea to help students further educate their minds in both Math and the fine arts. I do intend on incorporating examples of what Kathy show and what Robin was shown us during her presentation.