One of our new initiatives this year is a Fine Arts Integration Program with our grades 4, 5 and 6students. The purpose of this initiative is to deepen the collaboration between our Fine Arts program and the core subject areas.
As part of this new initiative, a Fraction Art project was created in collaboration between a visual arts specialist and a math/science specialist. In math, Grade 5 students had completed most of the fraction unit when this project was introduced.
The project is based on the artwork of Piet Mondrian, who often used a grid of horizontal and vertical lines, filled in with primary colors.
In order to create their own "Mondrian" type pieces of art, students followed a general set of instructions, which were written in fractional terms for the whole area of one piece of paper. All students followed the same set of directions and then compared their creations with peers. An exemplar of the project was shown to students prior to beginning their own artwork.
This activity reinforced fraction concepts taught in class, as well as some concepts that were not directly taught at a Grade 5 level. Concepts covered:
- Representing, identifying, naming and creating fractions using a region model.
- Visually creating equivalent fractions: Students were challenged to find interesting ways to represent the fractions. For example, some students used long skinny rectangles, instead of one folded square to represent one twelfth.
- Division with fractions: Papers were folded into 12 equal sections, which then had to be changed into smaller equal pieces for more complex directions. For example, to break the paper into twenty-fourths, students decided they could split each section (twelfth) into 2 equal sections, creating twenty-fourths.
The initial folding of the paper into twelfths was chosen because it allowed a variety of fractions to be represented within the folds of the paper (e.g. thirds, fourths, sixths, etc.). The directions can also be easily adapted to allow for different types of folds.
As an extension to the project, students were asked to create their own artwork, which they then had to write fractional directions for (similar to the original project).
Here's some of the sample pieces of student work: