Close
Bronxville Union Free School District

Sixth-Graders Explore Innovative Ideas in Math Craft

Sixth-graders are gaining new experiences and a deeper appreciation for math through Math Craft, a new course designed to allow students to creatively explore the relationship between math, the arts and technology.

The curriculum, which was designed by math teachers Brittany Braia, Jennifer Oliveri and Rachel Sugarman over the summer, challenges students to apply their knowledge of math to discover innovative ideas and projects. They get to design, analyze, manipulate, calculate, scale and think critically through a variety of hands-on learning experiences.

Oliveri’s students are being introduced to the Pythagorean theorem, the Fibonacci sequence, Möbius strips, the golden ratio and Pascal’s triangle, among other topics, throughout the course to challenge and expand their mathematical minds. During a recent class, they worked on a project called “Tessellation Monsters” incorporating some of these concepts. Using a 2x2-inch piece of cardstock, the students created a shape of their choice before cutting it out and tracing it repeatedly on a piece of white paper until no blank space remained. When done, the students styled and colored their shape to resemble a type of monster.

“A tessellation is any pattern made of repeating shapes that covers a surface completely without overlapping or leaving any gaps,” Oliveri said. “We are using tessellations to teach students a mathematical rule of repetition called translation. Simply put, this means shifting or sliding the position of a shape without changing any of its other features.”

While combining the creativity of an art project with the challenge of solving a puzzle, Oliveri said the students use tessellations to learn about the many facets of geometry.

“Many people don’t typically think of math when they look at beautiful designs, but math provides many tools that help us create and analyze patterns,” she said.

Students said they enjoy their Math Craft class because it’s relaxing and allows them to creatively express their ideas.  

“I enjoy how you have to make each puzzle piece so that when it’s joined together with all the other ones it makes a pattern and a cool design,” sixth-grader Lucas Sulimirski said. “I was trying to get camels all lining up so their humps doubled as legs for the ones on the top.”

Meanwhile, students in Braia’s class created spirolaterals, which are geometrical figures formed by the repetition of a simple rule, and can range from basic to elaborate, depending on the angle and number of patterns used. The students formed the base pattern by drawing line segments of a number’s multiples summed up to a single digit until repetition occurs. The pattern is turned a fixed angle after each segment is drawn, either clockwise or counterclockwise.

“This project takes students’ prior knowledge of multiples and incorporates an artistic alternative,” Braia said. “As a class, we investigated the spirolateral design the number five would make, by listing its multiples and adding any two-digit multiples together to make a single digit, until repetition occurred. Once the students understood the method, they were encouraged to work with different integers and their multiples to manipulate new designs for each number.”

For their next projects, students in Oliveri’s class will creatively explore how to use a scale factor to proportionally enlarge objects. Students in Braia’s class will focus on using a compass to create circles and complete an art project.

  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image