Math Through Art

Grades: K-8
Tour length:
1.5 hours
900 S. Beretania Street
Tuesday – Friday
9 + 10:30am
Group Size:
60 maximum
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During this activity-filled tour, the galleries turn into math laboratories as the students use art to explore concepts of scale, ratio, perspective, pattern, symmetry and proportion. Students will discover how artists used math concepts to create art. They will see landscape paintings from Italy and learn one-point perspective to show depth on a two-dimensional surface. They will visit the Islamic gallery and create infinite patterns; they will calculate, measure and draw human proportions through modern portraits from the United States, France and Mexico, and an ancient Egyptian relief sculpture. Younger students will classify and categorize objects and determine the differences between symmetry and asymmetry while looking at paintings. Older students will create geometric sculptures after observing a variety of shapes and forms. All students will create a work of art in a human Spirograph. The tour offers multiple opportunities to enjoy art and practice math skills in fun ways! A take home math booklet is provided. After the tour, all students receive a Parent Pass to bring two adults to the museum for a return visit.

Students will receive this booklet to use on the tour and to take back to the classroom. 

Artwork on this tour:
Six Star Tiles. Iran, c. Late 13th or early 14th Century. Glazed stone-paste, underglaze-painted, overglaze-painted luster. Wilhelmina Tenny Memorial Collection. Gift of Renee Halbedl, 1960, (2713.1, 2717.1, 2718.1, 2719.1, 2720.1, 2724.1)/ Two Cross Tiles (Two Objects). Iran, 14th Century. Glazed stone-paste. Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, (48.395, 48.393). (Pictured above)

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Annelies, White Tulips, and Anemones 1944. Oil on canvas. Gift of the Friends of the Academy, 1946 (376.1).


Continue your museum experience back at school! Borrow artifacts related to your tour from the Lending Collection to use in the classroom. The Lending Collection is a free resource for island educators. Pre-packaged object trunks available for some tours, or hand pick objects from the collection for any tour. Contact Elizabeth (Beth) Doughty, Lending Collection Manager:, 808-532-8736. 

Hawaiʻi Department of Education Benchmarks

Measurement and Data
Classify objects and count the number of objects in each category.
Measure and estimate lengths in standard units.
Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.

K.MD.3 Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count. (Limit category counts to be less than or equal to 10.)
1.MD.1 Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
2.MD.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
2.MD.3 Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.
3.MD.6 Measure areas by counting unit squares
4.MD.1 Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of smaller unit.

Identify and describe shapes
K.G.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
K.G.2 Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
K.G.3 Identify shapes as two-dimensional or three- dimensional ("solid").

Reason with shapes and their attributes.
1.G.1 Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size) for a wide variety of shapes; build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
1.G.3 Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
2.G.3 Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, a third of, etc., and describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, four fourths. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.
3.G.2 Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part is 1/4 of the area of the shape.

Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.
4.G.2 Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
4.G.3 Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

Ratios and Proportional Relationships
Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
6.RP.1 Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities.

Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Work with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication.
2.OA.3 Determine whether a group of objects (up to 20) has an odd or even number of members, e.g., by pairing objects or counting them by 2s; write an equation to express an even number as a sum of two equal addends.

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