In this math activity for kids, elementary kids will use multiplication fact patterns to create colorful spiral patterns on graph paper. This spirolateral math art STEAM activity is a fun way to bring art and math together!
This is one of our favorite math activities for kids!
It’s a fun way for second to fourth-grade kids to learn multiplication facts in a new way and bring a hands-on math element to the classroom!
You can also do this activity at home to help bolster the knowledge and practice of multiplication facts.
Keep reading to find out how to complete this math art activity for elementary kids.
What is Math Art?
Math art is a representation of math concepts in art form.
Math art is simply a representation of a math concept in a fun, colorful way that can help bring more abstract art concepts to life.
In this case, kids can easily see how multiplication facts operate in a pattern, which can help make memorizing math facts much easier.
How is Art Related to Math?
Math follows specific patterns, as does art. Many kids may not realize how much math is present in the art and nature right before their eyes.
When doing this activity, discuss how math helps make art appear beautiful to our eyes and why that might be.
Math and art both require spatial reasoning skills and use a lot of patterns. Both artists and mathmaticians use geometry, with concepts like measurement, shapes, symmetry, and proportion in their work.
A good understanding of math will make art easier, and a lot of excellent artists also excel at math.
Math Art STEAM Extensions
Have your students discuss some of the following concepts and talking points when completing this activity:
- Why are elements of design so important in STEM?
- What math concepts are necessary to make high-quality art?
- Why do our brains seek order in art?
- Why does the universe try to achieve balance?
- Why are there so many patterns in math and nature?
- Is math a numerical representation of how our world works or something else?
When discussing these concepts, allow the kids to come up with their own answers. There are no “right” and “wrong” answers in STEM discussions, just explorations of concepts and themes.
Kids may come up with interesting therories for each of these questions which you can then discuss as a group and use logical thinking and guided discussion to determine the validity of each theory.
These discussion questions are an excellent way to allow children to explore defending a position, explanining concepts, and exploring healthy debates in a safe, low-pressure environment.
Have the kids use what they know about STEM thinking and the scientific method to create and defend their answers to each of these questions.
What you need to make Spirolateral Math Art
Make sur eyou have these supplies on hand before getting started with this math art project.
You probably already have everything you need in your home or classroom, but just in case, shop these affiliate links to find our favorite resources.
How to Do the Spirolateral Math Art Activity
The spirolateral math art activity isn’t difficult, but it is a lot of fun, particularly when you use some of the less-commonly known math facts as the base for your pattern.
Watch this video to see how the math art project is completed.
You will find this activity and a week’s worth of colorful and fun STEM projects for kids in the Summer STEAM camp activity pack.
Let each child choose a set of multiplication facts to use as a base. If a child chooses 5, for example, they would need these numbers:
5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55
Write down these multiplication facts.
Next, change each number into single digits by adding them together. For this set, the translation is:
5, 1, 6, 2, 7, 3, 8, 4, 9, 5, 1
When the pattern starts to repeat, stop the sequence.
Use the string of repeating numbers to fill in lines on graph paper.
You can also use a measuring tape to measure 1 inch or 1/2 inch blocks for each number in the sequence. So the first line in this sequence would be 5 inches long.
Use one color to draw in the first line, then turn the paper 90 degrees and draw the next number.
Repeat until the sequence is complete. Kids can keep repeating the pattern in different directions to make really cool art!
Find this activity and tons of other fun summer STEM activities in the instant STEAM summer camp bundle!
More Math Art Activities
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