This lesson is suitable for students in : Secondary 3

Artwork title: Water Edge

Lesson idea by Ariel Chan

Possible Guiding Questions for discussing Maths

Possible lesson ideas

 1.     What shapes do you see in these photographs? Describe and name the different shapes you observe.


2.     Do you observe any similar or congruent shapes in the photographs? How do the shapes relate to each other?


3.     Without physically rearranging these shapes or items, how else can we create artworks such as the ones in the photograph using mathematics?


In this interdisciplinary lesson idea, students are to appreciate mathematics in nature, and explore different ways that trash can be turned into art through mathematical methods.


Students are to use coordinate geometry and transformation to transform a piece of trash that they have found in the environment around them into artworks, with or without the help of technology. Through this lesson, students will revise simple coordinate geometry, and apply up to six transformations including translation, rotation, reflection, enlargement, stretch, and shear to create five art pieces.


A possible task could be:

Using different types of transformation learnt in class, students are to design a series of five different artwork that can be created using trash found on a beach near them. In each design, all transformation used must be clearly defined.




This lesson is suitable for students in : DP1

Artwork title: Water Edge


Lesson idea by Todd Moore

Possible Guiding Questions for discussing trash

Possible lesson ideas for differing perceptions on trash

1.     What do you see when you look at these landscape photos? What is the first thing that comes to mind?


2.     In your opinion, how old are the objects in the photograph? Where do you think they come from? Why are they there?


3.     Why have these objects been placed in patterns?   Do these new relationships change the way the individual parts are received? What stories do these pieces tell?


This lesson aims to address our perception of trash by “experiencing” a trash’s journey as well as seeing pieces of trash through different eyes.


It involves two pieces of writing and possible further research.


Ultimately, students should begin to understand the complexity and contradictory nature of society’s relationship with waste.

In this interdisciplinary lesson idea, students could be asked to think about the origins of trash and its migration across the ocean. 

A creative writing task could be to write about the life of a piece of trash on the picture: from factory to beach. Students could write from the perspective of the trash, starting at the factory and following it across the route of the sea. Next, they could ask: How did we decide that we don’t need it?   What is the nature of trash? Students could think about why the trash ended up on the beach in the first place. What is our relationship with trash? When does it become trash? Would all cultures agree on this?


Another creative writing task could be to write from the perspective of an alien who came to Earth and found these “artefacts” on the sand. The alien would need to relate these back to his/her planet.


The goal, as a writer, would be to see these objects in an entirely different manner. The green glass, for example, could be shiny jems used to signal a plane aboard. Cigarette butts could be cleaning agents.


Ultimately, students would be asked to reflect on our society’s perception of trash.


For further research, students could explore a country such as Ghana, where teenagers their age had to scavenge a dump for trash. How do they view trash differently from us? Where does this trash originate?





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