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Top Tip - Creative Maths

Submitted by Education on Thu, 15/02/2018 - 15:46

From Artist Educator Daniel Wallis

  1. Folding to find shapes
  • Fold a piece of paper as many times as you can
  • Unfold it and look for shapes (or images)

Further suggestions

  • Use a ruler to draw multiple lines across a page.
  • Use colour to fill the shapes.
  • Cut out shapes and rearrange to make an image.
  • Measure length of sides.
  • Measure angles.

2. Looking at the work of Matisse - Transformation: Reflection, Rotation and Transition

  • Look at the paper cut out artwork of Matisse as a starting point
  • Take an A5 sheet of colour paper, cut a shape out of it
  • Transform it using rotation, transition or reflection (or even multiple transformations)

Combine your A4 transformation shapes into one large artwork by bringing the work of everyone at a table or on the floor together. Make a grid. Overlap.

3. Symmetry: Exploded squares

  • Fold a coloured square along a line of symmetry
  • Cut it into sections, unfold and reassemble on a larger coloured sheet

Further suggestions:

  • Use other shapes and find their lines of symmetry.
  • Fold the shape along a line which isn’t the line of symmetry and cut shapes.

4. Buildings and Cities by Area

  • Draw buildings on squared paper-  each to have the same area. In groups students could make multiple buildings of the same are. Then combine (using multiplication to calculate the total area).
  • Set a task of designing a city with a set total area.
  • These buildings/cities could either be coloured in to look like real buildings, or cut out as silhouettes. Link to other topics such as great fire of London?
  • For advanced students work in volume and make 3D buildings.

5. Looking at the work of Escher - Tessellation

  • Take a square of colour paper and cut it in half horizontally.
  • Move the top half to the bottom and rejoin (use tape on the back)
  • You now have a shape that will tessellate


Now make a cut vertically, move the left side to the right and reattach:

You can use these shapes as templates to draw around (use thicker paper/card) to create tessellating patterns, or photocopy or trace the shape to repeat it multiple times and create a tessellating shape.

6. Number Tables

For number tables you can create TABLE PATTERNS

  • The three below are for the 3 times table
  • Draw a table of x columns by y rows
  • Number each square consecutively
  • Colour in the 3 times table

Repeat for any multiplication table, or put more than one in one Table Pattern.
What happens when two cross? i.e. if you do both the 2 times table in yellow and the 3 times table in blue, do the common numbers (i.e. 6, 12, 18…) appear in green?