5th Grade: The intersection of math and art
The students in Mrs. Turella’s 5th grade class studied art in a new way recently, as they learned more about the viewer’s perspective. In order to make things appear shorter or longer, or to give the illusion of space and distance, artists may use linear perspective. This technique has been attributed to Italian Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who devised it around 1415AD. Linear perspective incorporates math related to lines, vectors, arcs, angles, and planes in order to create realistic art that appears three-dimensional although painted or drawn on a one- or two-dimensional surface. Mrs. Turella led her students throughout the lesson by asking them open-ended questions, allowing them to pause and think before answering and guiding their thinking with just enough support to keep them engaged. She also provided examples of period art that did not include perspective to demonstrate the vast improvement that linear perspective brings to art when it is used. The students were amazed at the number of geometric angles and arcs they could find, once they knew what to look for. Our students can now apply their knowledge of yet one more aspect of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) as they create their own art and architecture in the coming years.