Mondrian and Math lessons (LS-RS-344)

Architecture: the geometry of a curved staircase.

Geometric art

In this Learning Scenario Natalija Budinski, a Serbian mathematics teacher has used art to teach geometry for 15 yrs old students. The scenario combines project-based learning with creativity. One of the aims is to show students how mathematics and arts are connected. This lesson was conducted when students were revising geometry of quadrilaterals. It fits the national curriculum of vocational high school in tourism.
For the purpose, Natalija used pictures and information of famous painter Mondrian from Europeana.

Teaching geometry in online settings can be particularly hard since it is quite an abstract concept. Mondrian is a very famous painter who regarded his extremely abstract art and inspiration to many other artists. The one the most known piece of art is his picture “Composition”. It was painted in 1930 and greatly contributed to visual language despite using small canvases. It is interesting that it combines geometrical figures, which was an excellent connection to our geometrical lessons. Mondrian was also an inspiration to many other artists in the fashion and design industry.
During this lesson, students will learn the basics of geometry, the connection between mathematics and art, and they also learn about Mondrian and his art direction. The lesson also enhances students’ creativity.

The activities were implemented in online Google classroom since the lockdown during pandemic spring 2020. All communication was implemented also via Google Classroom.

Students started the lesson by studying Mondrian using Europeana and YouTube videos. After gaining an idea what kind of art Mondrian painted, they did their own versions inspired by Mondrian. Here are some examples of their work.

Student artwork
student artwork
Student artwork
Student artwork
Student artwork

Europeana proved to be an excellent resource for teaching, in both, regular but also in the situation of remote teaching. Many interesting facts about European history could be found and used as a motivation for learning different educational content.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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