Desmos meets Mondrian

One of my very favorite parts of being a TSA for Instructional Technology is teaching in the classroom of a brilliant teacher who is intrigued by tech, but a reluctant user of it.  Why? Because I walk away with so many incredible ideas.  I laugh that after 3 years out of the classroom, I come up with far less great classroom ideas than I used to, however I really know how to spot a good idea when I see one.

Today was one of those dreamy days.  Lara Collins, 8th grade math teacher at King Middle School in Berkeley, and I were colleagues when I was teaching math just a few year back.  In fact, I remember in 2005 when I first started teaching middle school, after a long stint as an elementary school teacher, and Lara & her partner in crime Leah Alcala took me under their wing and gave me unique, creative lessons for weeks and weeks of curriculum.

Although I co-taught with Lara today under the auspices of having students use Desmos to gain insight into solving systems of equations, I also got to see the artistic creations of the 8th grade students at King who have been doing a whole lot of dabbling in the intersection of graphing and art.

After learning about how to write the equations of horizontal and vertical lines, students were introduced to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and did a study of his work, his use of color and the variety of ways he uses horizontal and vertical lines to create various moods. Students then created their own Mondrian-influenced graphs, with each line defined by its equation. Though they didn’t use Desmos for this project, they sure may next year.

A second art project followed soon thereafter.  Students wrote linear equations to design stained glass. Some learned how to set domain and range restrictions.


Some did the artwork on paper, while others used Desmos.  Each result is gorgeous.  So glad to have these great ideas to share with others.  Thanks, Lara!
Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 9.29.49 PM


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