When Evelyn Brewer’s students began studying geometry, they discovered
something surprising. They actually understood what they were learning! In
her article, "Geometry and Op Art," Brewer explains how she used a
form of abstract art called op art to teach her third-graders geometry. Op
art is an art form that uses geometric shapes, lines, and brilliant colors
to create a dazzling design.
Brewer uses this op art in her classroom to teach students the basic
concepts of geometry. Because op art is created through geometrical shapes
and lines, it provides a good basis for the study of geometry. Students
begin by learning about different types of lines. Once they have done that,
they move onto learning about shapes. After a foundation has been laid,
students dive into creating "Op Art Geometry." This project allows
each student to create their own op art masterpiece and put together a slide
show which explains their creation. Students use Kid Pix 2 to show
step-by-step how their work of art was created, and they record a narrative
of slide show, using geometrical language and ideas to explain what they did
in each slide.
This is a great article. It is well-written, and it explains the project
well. It is easy to understand exactly what Brewer did with her students.
The ideas are appropriate for a third-grade classroom, and students would be
very interested in this project. The concepts are fun and exciting to
teachers and students alike. We like the way Brewer came up with an
interesting way to teach geometry to students. All too often, geometry is
not taught to be fun, and this project shows that it can be. Furthermore,
the ideas in the article are in alignment with the National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) Standards. Mainly, it addresses the
concepts of geometry and spatial sense, connections, and communication. In
addition to learning about geometry, students connect math with art, which
shows them that math is not just in a textbook. Also, students had to
narrate their slide show, which fostered their communication skills.
We have not seen anything like this done in a real classroom, but we feel
that it would be a wonderful activity to try. It would engage students and
teach them geometry at the same time. However, all students would have to
have access to computers to work on this project. Often, students only go to
the computer lab once a week, and there is only one or two computers in the
classroom. If we were doing this project, we would have to figure out how to
have a large amount of time on the computers. They would have to have enough
time to design the art, make slides showing their process, and record their
narratives for their slide shows. This could take a considerable amount of
time, and it may be a problem at some schools to get this much computer
In class, we have frequently discussed geometry and shapes. This article
presents many of these ideas about which we have talked considerably—polygons,
shapes, and terminology. Students creating op art must think about which
polygons they want to use and which other shapes will fit into their art.
Then, they must use the correct terminology to describe them. This is
something about which we have talked extensively. This project allows
students to use "adult" terminology for the ideas they are
learning, rather than using "baby" terminology. Also, we think
that the teacher who is presenting this lesson could even use this medium to
move into a discussion on many other math ideas. For example, many of the
lines in the pictures intersect the shapes and divide the pictures up into
several parts, thus leading into a discussion on fractions.
Evelyn Brewer does a wonderful job of presenting this article. Her ideas
are fresh and interesting, and it is well-written. Her project, "Op Art
Geometry," is a great way to get students interested in geometry, and
it is fun. Students will be encouraged to work harder and they will learn
more thoroughly because they are engaged. Plus, they actually understand
what they are learning. What a concept!