Intersecting Lines: Math & Art (elementary)

Math is all around us. Explore the mathematical concepts of line, shape, form, scale, ratio, pattern, perspective, repetition, symmetry, balance, and proportion. Discover how artists use math to create a variety of works in both two- and three-dimensions.


Grades 3–5


60 minutes


75 students

Tour type



  • Close looking
  • Critical thinking
  • Exploration of pattern, symmetry, line, and balance


Students will:

  • Explore how artists use math to help them make their artworks. Sometimes their artworks are about math; sometimes artists use math during the planning phase, in order to turn their ideas into artworks in just the way that they had imagined.
  • Define and discuss the math concepts in artworks and how each work demonstrates/exploits it in order to show how math concepts can be used in practice (real world), not just in theory (classroom). Math concepts include: counting, one-to-one correspondence, conservation of numbers, line, scale, directional multiplication arrays, multiplication and prediction, geometric shapes, patterns, tessellations, balance, symmetry, increase/decrease by 1, shapes, acute/obtuse/right angles, two-dimensions vs. three-dimensional, positive vs. negative space.