Woodland’s new angle on art and math integration

At Woodland Elementary, students learn a new dimension of art and math through the efforts of art teacher, Mrs. Kristen Hawn. Through the incorporation and creative reinforcement of math into her art curriculum, students are learning more about fractions, decimals, percentages, measurement, shapes, counting, and symmetry.

“Math is life,” says Hawn. “Math is everywhere around us. As artists, we use math concepts to create our work – it’s a natural link between the two.”

The direction of Hawn’s program started in an afterschool program with third grade students designing a star through plotting and measuring. With the students’ enthusiasm for the star project and a focused effort on improving math skills at Woodland, Hawn saw an opportunity to bring math into her daily art instruction.

“For many of my students, they understand math better when they see it visually,” says Hawn. “By using math in our art, it reinforces the math they learn in their classrooms.”

Math is a primary focus for Woodland right now, says principal Jonathan LeVan, “we are engaging children differently in math, trying strategies we’ve never tried before. Having a very gifted art instructor who has a good history with math interventions provided us a great opportunity at Woodland.”

The artwork created in Hawn’s classroom also gives students another opportunity to collaborate. “On this mural project, students were given an outline for a square that was a piece in a larger design. Once they’d finished their design, they brought them all together to see the bigger piece of art. It was a great way to teach them measurements, plotting, and counting.”

older student artwork

“This project was one for older students,” Hawn says. “They had to choose their number of straight pieces, then use that number to calculate a percentage of paint for another section. It took a lot of thinking and planning – using fractions and formulating percentages. Students were really engaged and excited to see it come together.”

kindergarten artwork

“And this one was for some of our younger students. They chose a shape, then had to estimate how many rolled pieces of paper would fit inside it. They learned about shapes, counting, perimeters, area, estimating – all math principals – through this art project.”

student artwork

Says LeVan, “This is a great opportunity for our students to engage in math, knowing they will gain additional math concepts through something they all enjoy.”

A student doing artwork