For the last 4 years, artist Ellie Balk and high school mathematics teacher Nathan Affield have been collaborating on data visualization projects with high school students from the Green School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
This partnership resulted in projects like:
"Histogram of Emotions"
Two 11th grade Statistics classes surveyed the entire student body to create a histogram, aggregating the emotional path of a student's day that runs the length of the school.
"The Weather Mural"
Completed in Spring of 2012, students explored climate change through visualized data of weather patterns dating back from 1930 to a projection of the future. This mural is located on Moore Street near Graham Ave in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It and was a partnership with the Graham Avenue BID and the Borinquen Plaza Senior Center where seniors and students worked together in implementing the project.
Now we want to VISUALIZE Pi !!
Project Summary: Our goal for this project is to use mathematics to connect Green School students to the community by painting a large-scale outdoor mural on a wall located at Boerum St. and Graham Ave. in East Williamsburg. With most walls in the district covered in tags and random graffiti, there is a great need for public art. This mural project will allow students to to take action in beautifying their neighborhood and invest in their community in a direct and positive way.
Here's the wall now! eek!
In Math class, students will construct the golden spiral based on the Fibonacci Sequence and begin to explore the relationship between the golden ratio and Pi. The number Pi will be represented in a color-coded graph within the golden spiral. In this, the numbers will be seen as color blocks that vary in size proportionately within the shrinking space of the spiral, allowing us to visualize the shape of Pi and it's negative space. Where we can't find patterns in the individual numbers of Pi, we wonder if we will find a pattern in the shape! And by seeing the numbers as colors, we wonder if visual learners will have greater success in understanding the sequence. Learning math in a visual way helps students understand complicated concepts. Through the process of creating murals of these visualizations, students experience practical applications of math.
How we are going to make this happen!!....
Our goal is to involve every student in the school. Artist Ellie Balk will work with 4 teachers and 400 students in 16 classes, grades 9-12. We plan to meet 1-2 times a week for 8 weeks with a total 84+ hours. Every student will be involved in the painting process during school hours. A select group of students (now seniors!) who have worked with the artist on past murals will be leaders in the project and will guide other students. Green School art teacher and photographer Lola Flash will lead her students in documenting the mural's progress through their photography unit.
What math will the students will be learning?
The project will focus on topics such as: discovering the relationship between circumference and diameter, finding the area and circumference of a circle, using the unit circle to find trigonometric ratios and using congruent circles to construct congruent shapes and prove shape congruency – all skills necessary for students preparing for the Regents Exams in June.
High school math standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues, preparing the students to think and reason mathematically. Outside the classroom and into the community we can focus on this goal in a direct approach. The move towards the Common Core Standards pushes educators to create curriculum prioritizing depth instead of breadth. By focusing on the single, transcendental concept of pi across courses, the mathematics department plans to not only deepen student understanding of shape and irrational number, but more importantly, connect these concepts with ideas of neighborhood beautification which can in turn improve quality of life.
THEN WE WILL CUT RIBBONS AND PARTY! Yeah!
Here's what you are investing in...
This Kickstarter will make this project happen and will allow:
- Time in the classroom and painting with the students
- Purchase of professional art supplies
- Professional Development for Green School math teachers
- A spectacular community party and ribbon cutting
Planning a mural of this scale in Brooklyn, working with the school, local organizations and supporting businesses takes a lot of time. Already, the design and preparations to make this happen has taken over 35 hours...and we haven't even started painting! From here, it's ordering and organizing materials, priming the wall, 84+ hours of teaching, mentoring and painting with the students, party planning and getting your rewards out the door! That's over 150+ hours! And we are ready for it!
And we won't stop there...Additional Funding beyond our goal will take this next level! Here's what we can do!
- We have been working closely with the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District. With the great need for art in this district, additional funding has the power to transform this neighborhood with public art. Artist Ellie Balk has offered to help start a public art program in this district, calling on many local artists to create murals on many available walls on Graham Ave!
- We would love to partner with artist Erica Kermani to take professional documentation. This documentation will enhance our reach and help send out our message of working with students and communities to make curriculum integrated pubic art.
- Additional funding will provide the opportunity for Ellie Balk and Nathan Affield to attend a math conference and share our work with a larger community to teach and inspire educators on how to creatively integrate art into their math curriculums.
This project has been partially funded with a grant from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts administered by Brooklyn Arts Council.
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SPECIAL THANK YOU to Erica Kermani for putting together this video! Shout out to Betty at the Graham Ave BID!
THANK YOU THANK YOU GREEN SCHOOL TEAM! Nathan Affield and the math team, Principal Cara Tait, Art Teacher Lola Flash and of course the CREW-Matthew, Jamy, Reyna, Jennifer, Ceyara, Valisha, Acacia, Angel and Miguel. <3 <3 <3
Risks and challenges
Besides possible weather challenges, there aren't really any risks for completing the project. We have the wall, the community and school support and the KIDS are READY to start painting! All we need need to do is meet our funding goal! So that means if we get it, it's done...COLOR AND MATH AND SMILES!! If we don't meet our goal, it's all sad faces and blank walls and Pi will remain just a number. So let's make history happen! Let's VISUALIZE Pi !!!
3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956.........Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)