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Art + Math = Collaborative Fun & Learning

 “Arts integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets dual content objectives” (The Kennedy Center for the Arts, 2021). In partnership with the Count Basie Center for the Arts and The Kennedy Center for the Arts, teachers, and students in the Red Bank Borough Public Schools participate in many performing and visual arts integration experiences during the school year. 

 Throughout the spring our instructional math coach, Dr. Cuddihy, worked with teachers and students at Red Bank Primary School to connect mathematical concepts and abstract visual art. Grade 3 teachers, Mrs. Slipek and Ms. Cartier, and their students learned about the work of Piet Mondrian in order to deepen their understanding of area and arrays. They discussed Mondrian’s simplified visual compositions, his use of vertical and horizontal lines, and his choice to include primary colors in his art; later making the realization that artists can also be mathematicians! Working in small groups, they designed their own Mondrian-inspired masterpieces and calculated the area of each rectangle depicted in their pieces and eventually the total area of each primary color. Their desire to work together and be together was evident as they designed places to gather like stadiums, shopping plazas, and parks.

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Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's Several Circles painting, students in second grade represented place value with proportionally sized circles. They designed art based on three-digit numbers, with the smallest circle representing units and the largest the hundreds place. Selecting from a variety of patterned and textured papers, they made their thinking visible while also creating unique designs to tell a story about their number. For example, one student represented the number 197 and titled her art piece, “Go Covid,  Go!” She wrote, “I do not want COVID to separate people. I want people to go to the same place when wanted.”

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Students in Mrs. Monahan & Mrs. Moran’s first-grade class explored Kandinsky’s Composition piece to further master language around geometric terms like circles, rectangles, squares, triangles, rhombuses, and more! They also became inspired by the lively musical animation of this piece. As this school year has been one of being together while apart, the teachers decided to let the students create a class mural by adding shapes of different colors and sizes. Students were very excited to watch their masterpiece come to life and even wrote stories to accompany the class mural.

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We look forward to more opportunities for arts integration as we make plans for the 2021-22 school year!