Students Paint in Math Class


If you were to walk into Chris Border’s math and science classroom during a middle school club period, you’d find artists stacked up on a wall working on a mural. You'd also find Border's upper school students busy learning the latest pre-calc equations.

The Art Mural Club led by visual arts teacher C Jaap started the artwork last quarter.

Using a pre-set design, students embellished each panel with their own patterns and colors. “They needed to stay within the concept of the geometry, symmetry, and repetition of the original design,” says Jaap. “It’s sort of growing organically, and might end up having some panels dispersing and floating randomly. Although linked, nothing is contained.”

Using the iOrnament app, Border was inspired by the patterns of the Alahambra palace in Spain. “One of my hobbies is geometric design,” says Border. “With the help of the app, I used a compass and straight edge to create the panel. The Islamic influence is popular in many homes and businesses there, and now these artists are bringing it into my classroom."

Working around a Border class filled with upper school students, the artists use acrylic paints to fill in the panel lines. Starting with grayscale paints, they color each panel. Then to their own choosing, they will add patterns and their own colors with acrylic markers. “Having the design makes it a lot easier because we can do what we want with each small panel,” says sixth grader Sadie W. “If it was one big painting, we’d be stepping on top of each other and trying to figure out who is going to do what. It’s great to see how each one of our small panels grow into this big painting.”

The students hope to have the mural completed at the end of the quarter. Click here to see our young artists at work.