Amy Traggianese | October 2018

Media Arts and Math…Amazing!

Visual art combined with technology equals amazing Media Arts! In 2014, the National Core Arts Standards added Media arts to the four traditional art forms: visual art, music, theater, and dance.  Students should be creating with digital technology, not just consuming material. Integrating digital creations into the rich pool of the arts makes sense. It helps students learn through the arts, other content areas, and technology.

Use Technology to Transform Tasks

In my classroom, I make sure my students use devices and technology wisely. Giving students the opportunity to use technology to create is powerful… especially when they cannot create it any other way. It is like planning lessons on the higher end of Bloom’s Taxonomy or Depth of Knowledge. If you haven’t heard of the SAMR Model by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, check it out!

Let Students Discover the New Tool Themselves

Whenever I have students of any age try new technology or applications, I let them “play” first. This goes for young children all the way up to my colleagues! It is unfair to ask a student to do a specific task on a device or an app they have never used. Let them click on everything first so they understand how it works. This leads them to feel empowered by their curiosity and imagination.

After discovering the app for themselves, I use an app called Reflector. It allows me to mirror one device through my teaching computer onto the whiteboard. Bonus: the children think it is “way cool” to have a huge iPad on the screen! Next, I ask the students to show their classmates what they learned. I hand that connected device to the student, and the class can see what they are doing up on the board.  In one class period (or less), everyone knows how to use the device and the app for the lesson. As a bonus, they learn from each other. (And teach me a thing or two!)

With younger students, I usually do the discovery and peer teaching the day before the integrated lesson. That way, we can focus in on the lesson tasks and objectives, and not how to use the device and the app.

I have used many arts integration lessons over the years. One of my favorites that I have co-taught helps students learn more deeply about angles and Cubism. For another idea for teaching angles, check out this incredible post by Dyan. It explains how she integrates geometry with dance.

 Time to Try Media Arts and Math Together

This time around, I wanted to try a new and different for an arts integrated lesson. I sought a new “angle” for teaching geometry with technology and discovered Amaziograph: an iPad app. It aligns with the math and media arts standards for fourth-grade students. Students could create their own unique rotations and then use and review angles in a different way!

I worked side-by-side with the classroom teacher. Eventually, we came up with an integrated lesson that would honor the math and media arts standards equally. In math, students needed more practice drawing and identifying lines and angles. In media arts, students needed to work with digital tools to create media artworks. She taught the math concepts in her classroom, and I taught the media arts part in the art studio.  

Students explored the app first, as I mentioned above. To create their media art piece, they will use a rotation grid. Reviewing the measurement of angles is built into the task. Protractors will be available, of course! Each student can choose the angles in their rotation. With so many grid and palette choices in the app, it is certain that everyone’ media artworks will be unique!

For their artist statement, each student will write about their media art piece and the math concepts behind it.

You can use this arts integrated lesson seed for older students too! Check out the chart below for the fourth grade standards and eighth grade standards:

media arts and math

About the Author

Amy Traggianese has been an elementary visual arts educator in CT since 1995. A former kindergarten and first grade teacher, she has over 30 years of arts integration experience. Amy specializes in integrating language arts, math, science and technology into the choice art studio. She is an arts integration coach for The Institute for ARts Integration and STEAM. Amy is an active educator voice on Facebook and Twitter and loves a good Twitter chat. Connect with her on social media or at