Four years ago my Year 5 class made factor trees. We inverted the usual upside-down tree:
We made the prime factors into flowers, and we added a bit of treeishness and colour:
There was a whole forests of factor trees. Someone had the idea that, as 1 is not prime, but not like other composite numbers, it could be a bird:
It was something I've repeated with my Year 4 classes in the last few years, sometimes making the trees in different media:
There's always a tension for me with maths-and-arty activities. They can be not as artistic as an art lesson, and not as mathsy as a maths lesson. And with so much real mathematical and artistic exploration to do, we don't want to do anything that's less than best.
But sometimes, taking a bit more time with appearances, can make things clearer. Sometimes it can let you re-approach something that needs revisiting in a new form. And as in this case, sometimes it gives you something that doesn't look plain to leave up on the wall for a while. We went further with it, we used it as an opportunity to share what we'd been learning with the younger classes that passed by our display.
The immediate aim of this kind of event is that the students will have to revisit their learning as explainers, finding their own words for what they have created. There is of course the chance that the trees might intrigue some of the listeners too!
Something else - an unusual thing - happened with these trees recently. Two artists Charlie Youle and Bevis Martin came across our trees on a trawl through children's maths images, and made sculptures based on them!
|a "thought flower"|
I've posted about their exhibition here.
|meeting the artists|