Art as Math Assessment

We are coming to a mid-point in our Geometry unit, and before we switch gears into dimensions, planes and 3D objects, I want to do a summative assessment of the first half of the unit (2D shapes, patterning, lines, angles, etc)

Note to Self: I have divided this unit into two sections, I would argue unnecessarily. The next time I do this unit, I would like the 2D world of Geometry and the 3D world to be intertwined, not segmented into distinct sections of knowledge. I need to marry them and teach them both at the same time, not two them in two seperate chunks. This is important for the kids to see how they are inter-related, and by teaching them as inter-related parts of the whole, we can make connections easier. That being said, shouldn't all mathematics be taught in the same intertwined manner? Why am I only doing Geometry once a year? Why can't I teach all strands and topics (Data Management, Geometry, Number, Probability, Algebra, etc) at the same time, simultaneously, not broken into different units scattered through-out the year? Is that even possible? Or beneficial? So many questions.....

To assess the topics we have covered so far, I have given them this project;

Through this project, they will do five things (and probably more....);

1) Show me (visually) what they know about the topics they have covered

2) Tell me (orally) on Voicethreads the reasoning behind their mathematical decisions

3) Think critically and solve problems (Meta Learning)

4) Work as a team and come to consensus and decisions with your partner (Meta Learning)

5) Use Math in a real and creative way (application and enjoyment)

Here is what they got done after one brief period;

I could have given a test that would have taken them a 40 minute period to complete.  Instead, I have chosen to start a project that, in all likelihood, will take an entire week.  Which way is more effective?  They both have pros and cons, and the answer will always be cloudy and unsure.  However, it is beneficial to have this discussion, with yourself, and other teachers (hopefully from around the world).

Debate appreciated.



  1. I too am searching for ways to better assess students' understanding. By challenging students to create something, applying skills and manipulating ideas in an authentic context (aka - a project!) is a worthwhile pursuit that will provide teachers (and the students themselves) with more information about their understanding than any test. Sorry - not much of a debate from my perspective - I love the idea. It's interesting, we recently completed a PYP unit of inquiry, "How We Express Ourselves" and I created a menu of sorts for the students to explore some of the concepts through the lens of mathematics. It is very similar to what you have shared. The students loved it and were highly engaged and I was able to learn so much more about my students and what they understood. There was no neat 'grade' at the end, but many valuable conversations about individual next steps.


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