Both my boys are maths geeks. They have loved numbers and maths since they were small and are great with mental maths. They have also always loved art and crafts, but the older they get (they are nine and ten) they do less art and I want to encourage them. This is where maths and art collide – parabolics.
At first glance maths and art might appear to be worlds apart, but if you really look closer you will see that maths is full of patterns and these patterns can be complex, decorative and beautiful. Creating a parabolic is a great way to see how maths and art connect.
Using art to explain maths concepts is also a great way to encourage creative people to love maths too, as well as the other way round.
Maxi loved the fact that he could make a curve from straight lines!
We started with the simplest curve. If you have younger children then you could use less numbers.
It really is as simple as drawing lines from number 1 on the x axcess to number 1 on the y axis and then doing the same for all the numbers.
Once you have mastered drawing with the numbers then you can do it without the numbers on the top of the page. It is also great fun to colour it in once you have drawn it.
As you can see Maxi really enjoyed drawing all the graphs and now it was time for the fun part colouring in. We discussed the fact that the curve was an optical illusion and that it also gave the impression of 3 dimensions too. It is a great way of introducing perspective into the conversation too.
Download your free parabolic graph templates
********** click here for template 1 **********
********** click here for template 2 **********
********** click here for template 3 **********
As you can see you can create beautiful artwork from the graphs that we produced.
It has been really interested doing art with the boys and linking it to maths. It has been so long since I used my brain in this way and it reminded me of an article I had seen about using your brain in order to keep it sharp. I often leave the math to MadDad (he is an accountant) even though I trained as an accountant too. I think that he finds it easier as his brain is already in number mode, whilst mine tends to be in creative and word mode!
I have resolved that I am not going to take the easy option anymore and just get him to help the boys, but I am going to rise to the challenge and ensure that I keep up with them and keep learning and exercising the muscle that is my brain.
This is part of the cool maths for cool kids series