Maths makes art header

Maths Makes Art

Rulers? Check.
Scissors? Check.
Stringy loops? Er, sure …

Johanna Hall and Anne McNaught, two multimedia producers, have been on the road for Maths Week this summer with a boot full of art materials and film kit. The result is four how-to videos called Maths Makes Art. In the videos, children demonstrate how mathematical principles can be the basis for a huge range of art and craft projects. Cubic chickens, cat portraits, stained glass windows, stencils, a birthday card for your granny…

A fly on the wall at Haldane Youth Services or Carleith Primary School during the filming would have observed a whirlwind workshop with children learning about symmetry, tessellation or 3D shapes, before unleashing their creativity with the art materials. And alongside the workshop, a pop-up video studio with a few of the pupils filming step-by-step demonstrations of how each activity is done - with dos, don’ts, top tips, the lot.

The videos are made with children in mind, but are suitable for all ages - try for yourself!

Symmetrical Pictures

Have fun painting, printing and using stringy loops (technical term!) to make colourful symmetrical patterns. Let them dry, then get even more creative with the decorations.

2 and 4 Lines of Symmetry

Create intricate paper cut-outs, stencils and stained-glass designs using the mathematical principles of symmetry.

Tessellation

How to use the three rules of tessellation – flat surface, no gaps, no overlaps – to create never-ending patterns with squares and triangles. Then turn your square template into the shape of a cat’s face, and produce a whole sheet of funky felines. Miaow!

Fun with Cubes

Learn how to turn a square piece of card into a 2D net, then use this net to create a 3D cube. Have fun making and decorating cubes in different sizes. Or go wild and turn them into animals, and anything else your imagination can come up with…

Jo and Anne have previously collaborated many times as producers on audio and video projects with the BBC, though this is the first time for Maths Week Scotland. Anne’s background is in radio and web content, while Jo for many years ran BBC Scotland Learning’s outreach arm, ‘The Lab’, teaching young people to make digital content.

Both left the BBC in 2021, and Jo now writes and produces early years story podcasts and workshops with her character JoJo Gnome. She also runs filming and podcasting workshops in schools teaching young people to make their own content. Anne is often to be found out and about producing programmes such as Listening to Coral Reefs or children’s stories like BBC’s Time for a Story.

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