From the author: When I hear a young child say ‘I hate math’ or ‘math is hard,’ I am always perplexed. Most children know more about math and use it more in their everyday lives than they realize.
Picture two children who are given a snack and asked to share it. There is a sandwich cut into four equal pieces. There is a plate with ten grapes. There are three cookies. Now, any two children I know would be highly interested in making sure that the snack was shared equally. It’s my belief that the math concept of equal distribution comes fairly early to children. Most little sharers would divide the sandwich pieces so that each got two fourths. They would count the cookies, giving each person one cookie and, without even thinking about it, break the third cookie in half for sharing. They might count all the grapes and make two neat piles of five each or ‘deal them out’ like cards: one for you, one for me, until they were all gone. Then they would count how many grapes each received to make sure they were equal. As they ate each grape, they might notice how many were left on the plate. Without thinking about it, they have employed the usefulness of math in a sensory way, in the real world. They used math to achieve a sense of justice in the equal distribution of their snack.
I had the good fortune to work as an art teacher for several years in a Chicago Public School that had an integrated curriculum based on the belief that children learn with all their senses. There were two aspects of this that interested me. The first was that art class was used to augment learning in core subjects like reading, math, science and social studies which was a very interesting way for me to refocus the art curriculum. The second was that art was no longer seen as just a separate sort of play time or prep time for teachers but was elevated to an important part of the learning day. The ideas for the Draw Plus series arose from this classroom experience. To develop these lessons, I had to determine the juncture where subjects such as math and science, and art meet.