Counting on Art

Students will explore the paintings of Horace Pippin and Wayne Thiebaud and the mobiles of Alexander Calder to discover and practice math and visual art concepts. Background and biographical information about the work of art and artist, guided looking with class discussion, and activities with worksheets using mathematical formulas and studio art provide the framework for each lesson.

Pippin's Story
Grade Level: K–4

Students will learn about the life and painting style of African-American artist Horace Pippin. They will discover how to "read" the clues in his painting Interior and write a story about the work. By solving counting and time problems, students will also create their own "secret number" painting.

Calder’s Balancing Acts
Grade Level: 5–8

Students will learn the vocabulary of contemporary sculpture and be able to distinguish between abstract and realistic sculpture, mobile and stabile, and biomorphic and geometric. Then they will build a Calder-style mobile online and/or offline with art supplies. Lastly, they will complete a worksheet to connect the Fibonacci sequence to a mobile by Alexander Calder.

Thiebaud’s Cake Math (elementary version)
Grade Level: K–4

Using the painting, Cakes by artist Wayne Thiebaud, students will practice fractions, addition, subtraction, word and money problems, sorting, and classifying. Then they will create a bold cake painting, either online or with classroom art materials.

Thiebaud’s Cake Math (intermediate version)
Grade Level: 5–8

Using the painting, Cakes by artist Wayne Thiebaud, students will learn and practice math concepts of volume and surface area. Then they will create a bold cake painting, either online or with classroom art materials.

Related Resources

Create your own online mobile with "Mobile Maker"

Decorate Thiebaud's cakes in "Cake Maker"

Contact

Questions or comments? E-mail us at classroom@nga.gov