Sometimes it’s a challenge to fit everything into a curriculum that is expected to
be covered and still make things fun for students. One thing that is always fun for
them is visual arts, so when trying to both cover the curriculum and have an art class that many students need, it’s great to do what most teachers do – combine the two. It’s beneficial to make cross-curricular connections with our art. Obviously writing is an easy way to do this, but another inspiring way is through math.

Here is a plan for incorporating multiplication arrays into art.

First read the book “Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream” by Marilyn Burns. Tell your students that their reading purpose for this book is to look for examples in the illustrations that show equal groups. Afterwards create an anchor chart of all the ways the book shows arrays – I focus on the pictures in the bakery just in case students want to incorporate a bakery window in their art!

Next, take your students on a tour of the classroom and school looking for more examples of arrays. Some places you may find them – classroom windows, desk arrangements, bulletin boards, bookshelves and floor tiles. If you  have the resources you can have students take pictures of the arrays they find. Print and label the pictures and add to a “math focus” wall. For more information on this activity you can check out this post at Teaching With Moxie.

Next look at this art sample at Deep Space Sparkle . With your students talk about how some of the buildings show arrays and some do not. Write multiplication arrays for any building that you can.

Finally challenge your students to create a city skyline that shows arrays.

Here is a success checklist to use:

* Use a ruler to create straight lines
* Create a cityscape
* On each building include an array (using windows or items in a window)
* Add extra details like stars (or snowflakes) in an array
* Complete the chart describing the art using multiplication sentences

Author’s note: When my students did this activity, they used a piece of black construction paper for their background. They used construction paper and rulers to create the buildings. Chalk was used to create stars. Some students used chalk to create windows instead of construction paper as well. 

Once the cityscape is complete students complete the chart describing their art using multiplication arrays.

Author’s Note: Here are some samples of my student’s work…

Here is a copy of a chart  for you to use! Students assign a number to each object on their page. They describe the object by writing a multiplication array for it. My students left the object column blank on one copy and completed it on a second copy. The copies were stapled so that the answer sheet was underneath and people looking at our board had to read the multiplication sentence and try to match it up with the building. On the answer page the students described the building (ex. orange building with yellow windows)

Try it out with your class today! Any questions concerning this activity? Ask below!