Building a House of Math

We have just completed our final project for topic 4 in math, circles, and area. The student’s built a  house out of cardboard using the shapes we learned about in this unit.

It included a minimum of:

  • 3 Circles
  • 3 Parallelograms
  • 3 Triangles

The students calculated the total area (with a breakdown of shapes) of the exterior of their house.

The final houses turned out amazingly!

Math and Art

Mathematics can be discerned in many of the arts, such as music, dance, painting, architecture, and sculpture. … Artists from Luca Pacioli in the Middle Ages and Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer in the Renaissance have made use of and developed mathematical ideas in the pursuit of their artistic work. I read this amazing book Mathematics and Art,in which historian Lyn Gamwell explores how artists have for thousands of years used mathematical concepts – such as infinity, number and form – in their work. She has stated “Throughout history, scientists have discovered mathematical patterns in nature, such as the paths taken by electrons as they flow over the hills and valleys of tiny “landscapes” that are measured in microns (one micron equals one millionth of a meter). Paths of electrons in this digital print were recorded by Eric J. Heller, who studies rogue waves (freak waves, killer waves) on large and small scales. When a wave of electrons flows through a computer, a freak wave in a semiconductor can suddenly threaten the smooth functioning of the device.”

This rings so true with me as someone who loves music, art and math. I often have people ask me why I would love art as a painter, and to me I find it a very natural connection. I love to build and work on my house in my spare time as well and once I realised math was everywhere a whole new world opened up to me.

Once I started including art weekly into my math class, something changed. Students attitudes towards the subject began to shift. I had students yelling on Friday morning “Is it Math Craft Friday!!! Is it Math Craft Friday??!!” I even have had students redo assignments multiple times at home in their evenings “for fun”. This is why I love art and math so much! Research has also shown that symmetrical shapes and repetitive patterns have a large impact on improving mental health and have a relaxing quality.  Giving students a well rounded knowledge and love of math is as important to me as “getting the right answer”.

Growing Green!

I ma sharing an article I found in Psychology today!:

“Recently, an article in Miller-McCune captured my attention. It mentioned several research studies related to the positive impact of nature on the human condition. Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster could produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration. Click here for the Miller-McCune article: Nature is Good.

So, I decided to take a closer look at the research and see what might be helpful relative to our often stressful experience of living and working in the city. Though it is not related to mindfulness, this topic seemed interesting and particularly timely as we start sloughing off the heavy coat of winter and welcome the coming of spring.

This post addresses the physical presence of plants at work, home, or even in the hospital. Later posts will address the research related to (1) simply looking at nature (even a photo or painting); and (2) being in nature, like a stroll through a park or garden. Maybe I’ll even work-in a reference to the growing field of eco-psychology…”

Based on several experimental studies, the presence of potted plants has been found to be helpful in many different settings including work, school, and hospitals. In particular, plants have been shown to…

  • Lower blood pressure (systolic)
  • Improve reaction times
  • Increase attentiveness
  • Improve attendance (at work and school)
  • Raise productivity (at work)
  • Improve well-being
  • Improve perceptions of the space
  • Lower levels of anxiety during recovery from surgery
  • Raise job satisfaction

Not bad, huh?! Feeling good around plants is probably not surprising. After all, we surround ourselves with plants during celebrations and tragedies (i.e., weddings and funerals, respectively). We also set aside “sacred” green space for parks and community gardens in our cities and communities.

Relative to a barren environment, the research suggests that having plants around you is a good thing for your health and productivity. So, if you’re feeling stressed or inefficient at work, get a plant. You might just feel better.”


I love this article because I have found that my students regularly respond as to how much they love having the plants in the classroom and the benefits they see from it. Most noticeably their calming effect.

Worm Tea!!

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We have been working on creating a more eco friendly garden. We have been using fertilizers on our tomato plants, but wanted to try and find something that was more organic and had less of an impact on the environment. FullSizeRender (5)

The answer for us was worm tea! What is worm tea? Worm tea may not sound too appetizing, but your plants will really love it. You can buy this amazing fertilizer from a number of online sites but if you have a worm bin, you can make your own. Worm tea lets you fertilize without adding bulk to your soil and water your garden with something really “nutritious” for your plants. Your garden will practically jump up and shout “Hallelujah!” when fertilized with worm castings tea, and you will be amazed at the growth and flowering that results.FullSizeRender (6)

Since we have our own worm bucket in our room where we collect extra organic material during lunch hour, we decided to try and create our own worm tea. All you need is

  • 2 cups of well composted worm castings (no large scraps, preferably sifted)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn syrup or unsulphured molasses
  • Water which has been left to stand overnight or rainwater.

Instructions can be found here: How to make worm tea!

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We have noticed that our plants our very healthy and the tomatoes have gone crazy with fruiting since the tea! What are some other benefits? Check this image out!


Tomatoes Galore!!

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The students have been so excited as we are finally starting to see our tomato plants fruit! We have had a lot of success with pollinating our plants and the students were very careful to make sure they were ensuring all flowers were fertilized. FullSizeRender (2)

Right now we are growing two varieties of tomatoes and we hope that they will be ready to harvest before the end of the year. FullSizeRender (3)

We also have been fertilizing them with tomato fertilizer but are beginning to experiment with more organic means of fertilizer. Last week we made worm tea!FullSizeRender

Hope to have some big tomatoes soon!

Pruning our Tomatoes

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The students have been so great at looking after our tower garden and our little green thumbs. It is great to come in every morning and have the students already watering the plants and look after them. 2016-03-21 13.26.46

It is also a great team building activity and the students have gotten great at working together to take care of our gardens. 2016-03-21 13.43.51

Today Wyatt and myself had to google how to prune our tomatoes and Wyatt got right to it. We had a lot of extra foliage which was taking nutrients away from the tomatoes fruit so Wyatt made sure to clean up the plant. 2016-03-21 13.44.27

Snip snip2016-03-21 13.45.34

I’m excited to see if we get any tomato fruits. We already have peas and beans maturing so it will be great to see what else we can get to grow!

Ice Box Challenge Lab

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We finally last week got to test our ice boxes and see how well they kept our insects frozen!2016-03-09 08.38.31

Freezing the crickets in the ice was kind of a gross job but the students were so engaged and that was the most important part.2016-03-09 11.03.34

Some of the designs turned out great. It was clear to see that the students really put a lot of time and effort into their boxes and designs. 2016-03-09 11.04.33

We fist measured our ice to see what its mass was, then placed them into our box. 2016-03-09 11.08.01

It was great to see how excited the students were to see how well their deigns worked. 2016-03-09 11.11.26

March 21st Tower Garden and Little Green Thumbs

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Well only three weeks since our last post and our Garden is growing WILD! Our only issue right now is that our plants are growing too well.  Our tomatoes are especially thriving!2016-03-21 12.35.17

It has been really exciting as our plants are starting to flower now too.2016-03-21 12.35.19

Our carrots have finally taken off too and will be ready to harvest soon enough.2016-03-21 12.35.22 2016-03-21 12.35.33 2016-03-21 12.35.51

Our lettuce box which we grew from seed is starting to come in now too! We are all so excited for our first harvest!2016-03-21 12.36.02

Our tower garden has been doing great too. Our beans have climbed all up the side which has been fun to see.

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The other really exciting news is that our very own Wyatt was chosen to be in the newspaper to speak about our garden. I love how excited and interested the students are in our garden. Without them nothing would grow. They have been so great watering and tending the garden every morning as soon as they come in. I don’t even touch it anymore or have to remind them!

Spruce Grove Examiner

Please take a moment to read the article found here!

Little Green Thumbs March 8th 2016

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Our garden is growing like a weed lately. We decided as a class to that we loved lettuce so much we would make a lettuce box. We have 5 different varieties of greens and over the weekend they started to pop up!2016-03-08 07.51.39

Wyatt’s tomato plant is growing crazy too! Thursday we gave it some fertilizer and over the weekend it seemed to double in size! The students were so excited to see our progress!
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I have to go and purchase some climbing apparatus for our peas however as they are growing wild at the moment. 2016-03-08 07.51.50

And our carrots are finally starting to show some signs of growth! So excited to see what next week brings!