Geometric Design Challenge

While sorting through her inbox last summer, Director of Technology Martha Borden came across an interesting project offered by Constructing Modern Knowledge that blended coding, art, design, and math. This hands-on project, in Borden’s estimation, fit perfectly with Falmouth Academy’s long tradition of “Arts Across the Curriculum.”

This geometric design challenge found its home in Jon Olson’s Statistics, Trigonometry, and Functions class, which he teaches to 11th and 12th graders. “Once we started discussing the project, Mr. Olson could see how it visually showed f(x), which gave us an opening to adapt this project to his curricular goals,” explained Borden.

Using block coding, Borden taught Olson’s students how to create a 2D digital design that illustrated reflections about the x-axis, y-axis, the line y = x, and horizontal and vertical translations. “The students create a sort of repeating geometric design across the page by replicating their original shape,” said Borden. Once done, the final 2D design was imported into Tinkercad and exported in a file format to be printed on the 3D printer. Borden shared real-world application noting that this looping design is an architectural feature found in tile art, particularly in Islamic and Portuguese tiles. She went on to say that the project could be extended into the ceramics studio where the students would create and glaze tiles from their 3D designs. This year, they ended the project with 3D ornaments that hung alongside their 2D designs.

“The goal of this project was for students to gain a deeper understanding of how these transformations affect shapes, to apply their knowledge through coding, and to produce representational 2D and 3D images of their work,” explained Olson. “And it was a big success.”
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