Art from Everyday Materials Inspires Interest in Mathematics

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 210G (San Jose Convention Center)
Andrea Hawksley,SAP Labs, San Francisco, CA
We explore the use of artwork made from familiar, everyday materials to spark interest in mathematics. By using familiar media such as sunglasses, hair ties, and playing cards to show complex mathematical concepts in an artistic manner, we can provoke excitement about the pieces without scaring people away. Once people's interest is piqued, they may be more willing to try to understand the mathematical concepts being shown. We hypothesize that the use of everyday materials helps make the underlying mathematics seem more approachable and less confusing.

We also discuss workshops that explore the connections between mathematics and familiar art forms like dance and music. In addition to the advantages provided by associating math with the familiar in a static, non-interactive setting, these workshops foster interest in mathematics by encouraging people to personally explore the relationship between activities that they already enjoy and mathematics.