Math Lesson Cleverly Disguised as Art

Trajan’s first attempt to copy a drawing of the mythological character Jason (think Argonauts, not Friday the 13th) was a classic exercise in trial and error.  Despite instructions from math teacher Diane D’Acuti to make a grid and recreate each box within it proportionally, he started free sketching and soon, a misshapen and disproportionate creature had emerged.  “It turned out really bad,” he says. “She made me restart the whole thing and she told me to sketch lighter and move from square to square.”

The exercise was part of a middle school math lesson that used proportional drawing to teach about fractions, measurements and proportions. Students chose pictures to copy, and “Trajan had a very difficult picture,” says Diane. “They had to make a grid and either multiply it to increase it in proportion or divide it to decrease it, and then redraw the picture. Trajan wasn’t following the gridwork, so I had him redo it.”

“It was frustrating,” says Trajan. “But now it’s turning out way better than the last one. It’s probably the best drawing I’ve ever done.”  Diane agrees that persistence has paid off. “What he’s created now is exceptional,” she says. Other students in the class were also satisfied with their results. “I found out that I can draw a really good picture,” says Chambolion.

To view a photo gallery of Trajan and his fellow students’ proportional drawings, click here: