My mind works a bit differently than most; I nearly never stop "seeing" math and making connections to mathematical concepts in my mind. For example, mountains make me think of triangles and slope. The curve of a river can be defined by a cubic equation. A building next to a natural feature in the same frame shows perspective. The petals on flowers and sequencing of rows on pinecones are connected to the Fibonacci Numbers. I see all of this in addition to the natural beauty and wonders found in our landscapes.
I’d like to create a poster series and product line featuring mathematical concepts using America’s National Parks as a backdrop. I will photograph natural images of the U.S. and then superimpose mathematical concepts on the photos. Natural arches will be presented as parabolas and quadratic equations, and canyons likened to the negative set of numbers.
My hope is that using nature as a motivator for math will draw in students (and lots of other individuals, too). I want to give students a positive experience with math. I want to give educators a tool to help them do the same thing. I want students' confidences to be built, opening their minds to the idea that they can do math and math is important in their lives. The best way to develop their math literacy and their math vocabulary is to help them “see” math in the world around them – in art, in history, in science, in nature.
My proposal combines my love of and passion for mathematics and my interest in nature, photography, and travel into a unique math experience. I want to help individuals develop a watchful eye to observe the world and to have the math vocabulary to express what they see. I want them to be literate in math.
By embarking on a “Math Roadtrip” to several National Parks, my goal is to photograph math in nature and to collect data across the country. I will create a math poster series that is connected to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. I intend to use nature to show how universal math is.
I will capture natural images of the U.S. and then superimpose mathematical concepts on the photos. In this way, students’ math fluency and knowledge will develop and continue to grow. Nature is a catalyst to see math’s presence in our lives. All contents can use math and nature as a means for student learning, from artists using shapes and lines to realistically capture scenes to scientists collecting data to explain ecosystems and weather patterns. By thinking mathematically, an appreciation of our society’s dependence on mathematics can be promoted.
In addition to developing math skills, the poster series will help students with a geographical awareness and an introduction to the park systems of our nation. I believe the park systems are an affordable and excellent way to begin learning about planning and budgeting travel and exploration. Besides being educational, the range of possible activities and natural sites the National Park system encompasses is unmatched.
For the inner geek in many of us, or for classrooms around the country, this product line will engage the viewer and pass along both mathematical and geographical information. Besides being informative, these will be works of art. This new creative approach to mathematics will help strengthen mathematical literacy and math vocabulary by depicting the math seen in the world around us.
Your funding will help pay for supplies, equipment, travel, and printing costs.
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