Algebra can strike fear in the minds of students who dread learning this complicated, yet useful, form of math. Make learning algebra interesting by inviting students into the creative side of this typically despised type of math. Algebra often comes more naturally to students when it is made visible through the use of different art mediums.
Math Expression Tiles
Students can make pictures out of geometric shapes, while learning about balance, repetition and rhyme, and unity and variety. Start off by showing the class works by famous artists, such as Frank Lloyd Wright or Piet Mondrian. Explain to the students how each of these works incorporates algebra, balance, repetition and rhyme, and unity and variety. Pass out a worksheet with various algebra tiles, or shapes, and have each student color the different tiles as desired. Next have the students cut each tile out and select the shapes they wish to use in their arrangement or expression. Each student should come up with his own mathematical art expression with his tiles, and have the students record the reasoning behind the expression created.
Algebra Art Journal
Journals may seem like a thing from the past with today's online blogs, but journals provides students with an artistic way to chart their journeys through learning algebra. Start by passing out journals with a customizable cover and blank, unlined pages. Have each student design her own algebra journal cover. Allow students to be as creative as they desire: pictures of equations, tools used in learning algebra and other such illustrations can help the students better understand and embrace algebra.
Linear art projects can help students learn about linear measurement, while providing an outlet for artistic creativity. Students can make pictures out of line segments and record the equation for each segment. Have students also provide the domain and range for each segment drawn. Limit students to a specific number of lines, such as five horizontal and vertical lines, and five lines with positive and negative slopes. Students should be allowed to incorporate more lines if desired or necessary, allowing the linear art pictures to be as simple or as complicated as the students desire.
Algebra and Poster Power
A poster campaign promoting the importance of learning algebra can make for an educational and artistic math project. Have students sketch ideas for posters using algebraic equations as the main focal point. Students would then turn their rough sketches into actual posters. You might encourage the students to come up with a slogan for the posters, stating why learning algebra is important. Give students ample time to make the posters. Showcasing the posters in school hallways can change the way other students see algebra as well.
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