Vision for Learning News

Scatter Plots Light Box
Posted 11/21/2016 09:29AM

In the 1930s, the school's founder, Eva Edwards Lovett, published a booklet (New Deal in Education) in which she claimed, "Investigations, supplementary reading, modeling, painting, drawing, shop work, writing, trips, and continual dramatizations of subject matter, are the magic 'sesames' which open the door to a rich, adult life for the learning child." The notion that art is a powerful door to understanding the world is as true in 2016 as it was when the school was founded in 1926. Here's what that looked like in a 7th grade Advanced Algebra class in early November:

Seventh graders in Advanced Algebra were learning about scatter plots and linear regression. After collecting data on a suspected correlation of their own (the relationship between height and shoe size, for example), students were charged with plotting their data not just with a pencil on graph paper, but also with a straight pin on a small light box. They then sewed the trend line into the box with embroidery thread. Finally, students were charged with decorating their boxes to communicate the relationship they had explored, without the use of words. Small lights in each box created a scatter plot constellation.

In addition to mastering the mathematical concepts of the week, students also exercised their creativity and visual problem-solving muscles, explored the aesthetics of mathematics, and had a chance to demonstrate their nascent mathematical understandings in a new way.

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