Universidade de Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 53-61
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0018
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
The use of art in teaching mathematics, as referred to in the literature, enhances the understanding, retention and connection of mathematical concepts to many other areas of knowledge. There is, in fact, a broad consensus on the recognition of mathematics as a universal language for describing the world around us. However, it is in art that the maximum expression is found to represent and recreate it. By combining maths and arts with the use of dynamic geometry environments, promising paths are opened for the development of geometric, critical and creative thinking. It is not by chance that, Portuguese official guidance documents, along with many from other countries, recommend that students are exposed to problems that are interesting, motivating and challenging, making them feel and see the beauty and importance of mathematics. Since problem solving is one of the essential competences for learning in mathematics, teachers must take responsibility for selecting problems and tasks for the classroom or asynchronous activity that meet official recommendations. It was within this context that we came up with the idea of dynamizing a professional development course, for mathematics teachers, where geometry and art were, explicitly, interconnected, using a STEAM approach. The book Beautiful Geometry by Eli Maor and Eugen Jost, was one of the key elements for its planning and implementation.

In this paper, we present some results of the proposed professional development course for mathematics teachers. The course took place in a Portuguese university, from April 24th to May 26th 2021, and involved 22 teachers of grades 5 to 12. The supervisors started the course by introducing some geometry topics from the selected book and showed several artworks created by renown artists, based on them. Afterwards, the participants explored other topics from the book, presenting them to the group, showing the relationship between the geometric/mathematical concepts and the artworks that accompany the book. In the final phase of the course, participants chose geometry or mathematics topics and took the role of an artist, creating one or more artworks based on them. The artistic pieces made use of several arts techniques: acrylic, watercolour, textile arts, and mixed media.

The authors have developed a mixed case study to evaluate how a STEAM approach to the teaching of mathematics, is perceived and apprehended by mathematics teachers, considering the following aspects: deepening of scientific knowledge and possible repercussions on the teaching practice. Overall, the activities developed have proved to be successful examples of STEAM experiences that bring into the teaching of mathematics, technology and usual procedures in arts teaching.
Professional development, STEAM, mathematics and art, mathematics education.