Artistry and Geometry Prompts for Extended Thinking

Artistry and Geometry Prompts for Extended Thinking

Use these prompts after your Evans Distance Learning session or museum visit to activate creative, critical, and reflective thinking.

Grade Level:
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
Activity Type:
Distance Learning

Artistry and Geometry Prompts for Extended Thinking

Creative Thinking

Using our imaginations when looking at art can activate prior knowledge and spark curiosity. Ask students to recall their Evans DLP visit and try this activity.

The walls of VMFA  display art from all over the world. In some of the museum spaces, visitors can experience large works of art that take up most of the wall. Click on the images below to view and learn more about two of these works. Compare the use of geometry in each of these pieces. Imagine artists Esther Mahlangu and Sol LeWitt were to meet at VMFA. What ideas would they share? Based on what you observed of their work, consider:

  • How might they look at and think about each other’s artwork?
  • What ideas might they recognize in each other’s artwork?
  • What might they point to in their own work that demonstrates their thoughts and intentions?

Creatively present the imagined conversation in a digital or analog media of your choice. You may also wish to design your own wall art inspired by the ideas “discussed” by Mahlangu and LeWitt.

Critical Thinking

Looking closely at art can help us uncover layers of complexity not apparent at first glance. During your Evans DLP visit, students explored artworks through a mathematical lens to interpret and become curious about the work of several artists. Ask students to try this approach with other works of art. Use the Looking to Learn: Elaboration Game or the Sketching to Learn: 30-Second Sketch strategy to examine some of the works below.

Reflective Thinking

Reflecting on our experience with art helps us connect to people and ideas across time and place. Ask students to reflect on their Evans DLP visit with one or more of the following prompts.

  • Having spent time with art at VMFA, what more do you know about how artists use geometry to convey ideas? How do you imagine the lives of the artists and the people for whom they made art were similar or different to your own?
  • What did the art NOT answer for you? What mathematical or artistic concepts are you curious about? Name three things that you wish you knew more about and why. Visit your school library and online databases to research answers.
  • Imagine you could visit the studio or workshop of an artist whose work you saw today. Based on what you have seen, what would you expect it to be like? What kinds of tools might be there? What kinds of conversations might you overhear?  What about YOU and where you work would surprise the artist?