How to Teach Math with Drawing

Math Drawings: Good Stuff for Teachers, Parents, and Students is a 188-page compilation of the step-by-step instructions for five professional-looking drawings. Each step is illustrated and highlighted. The instructions for each new line of the drawing are laced with the vocabulary that forms the math lesson.

Mary originally created Math Drawings to capture the imagination of reluctant learners. It was a way to present an opportunity for those students – who never succeeded at anything academic– to finally succeed at something. Since Mary believes success builds on success, she surmised that this success could be the catalyst that ignites those students’ passion for the course.

She was right. The success was explosive. All her students, not just the struggling ones, wanted to work with the Math Drawings. This forced Mary to add a more advanced supplement to each chapter, which she calls Differentiations, so more capable students could benefit from the drawing sessions as well.

This latest edition of the book contains the following drawings: “Tin Cans,” “City by the Sea,” ” Roman Arches,” “Country Road,” and the latest addition “Eagle,” by the artist Marilyn Grame, who has kindly given her permission for its use..

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The Concept

Mary Smale’s recent book, Math Drawings, not only promises to broaden the students’ concepts of math and art, it delivers on this promise in a most entertaining way. She has followed the lead of Leonardo da Vinci, who combined Math and Art over five-hundred years ago. The book contains five pictures, titled Tin Cans, City by the Sea, Roman Arches, Country Road and The Eagle. To ensure the student’s success, the pictures are introduced in the form of five math lessons using art. Each lesson begins with the math (geometry) vocabulary that will be illustrated over and over again until the drawing is complete. Each step in the drawing has its own page with the most current line/s highlighted. By the time a student completes a Math Drawing, s/he will have heard the vocabulary words, seen them, drawn them and internalized them scores of times. The book is tailored for teachers and parents of students from 4th grade through high school.

A valuable bonus of Math Drawings lies in the fact that teachers and homeschoolers may integrate the lessons to make a greater impact. For instance, while the math/art teacher is having his/her students draw the Tin Cans, the history teacher could use his/her time to delve into the fascinating history of the tin can. Likewise, the science teacher could be investigating the forces at work during the canning process, and the health teacher could be working concurrently with the others, investigating the health concerns of canning.

However one chooses to use the book, you’ll agree that the best way to teach is to make the lessons meaningful, fun, and “hands-on”.

A Note to Non-Teachers:

Initially Mary targeted Math teachers with her Math Drawings book because it was a proven way past the “same old lesson plans” that weren’t reaching reluctant learners. But, she found that scores of non-teachers wanted to draw the pictures as well. So her book’s references to teachers are now only a suggestion for its use.

When people who were not connected to the teaching profession started approaching Mary with the question: “What about us?” she knew right away that the book’s instructions would work well for them. She was confident because for years her students, who were absent on the days the math drawing was taught, would return to class during their lunch breaks or after school and would simply use the instructions in the book to guide them in drawing their pictures. These students were 11- to 13-year old children.

I have never been able to draw or paint but this book breaks it down perfectly so that anyone can create beautiful art! User