Exploring Linear Equations Using Art 


Guest Blog by Robin W. Ward

Today's blog describes a lesson in which the Wall Drawings of Sol LeWitt can be used to explore and discuss linear equations.  More about Dr. Ward’s and a link to her work is given below:

Dr. Ward, a two-time NASA fellow, also works as an educational consultant and presents workshops on integrating mathematics and the visual arts to educators, mathematicians, parents, and children. 

Dr. Ward’s Math Googles Facebook page.

Middle school algebra students recently donned their math goggles and engaged in a hands-on exploration of linear equations using the visual arts as a lens.

In order to challenge eighth graders’ graphing skills, students learned about the American artist, Sol LeWitt (1888-1976), who came to fame in the late 1960s with his wall drawings. 

LeWitt Wall Drawing 1144.jpg

LeWitt’s work has been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world since 1965. Some of his works can be viewed at the sites listed in the references listed below.

LeWitt was a founder of Conceptual Art, an art movement in which art is constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions. That is, LeWitt would develop a concept, and then a group of trained artists would carry out a list of instructions in which he specified how to create his concept.

This algebra activity was based on LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 419 shown here:

Sol LeWitt.jpg Wall Drawing #419

Using a coordinate grid, algebra students were given a set of instructions (shown below) requiring them to graph a variety of colored lines in all four quadrants. While interpreting the instructions, students’ understandings of slope and intercepts were challenged.

LeWitt Directions.jpg

At the end of class, the algebra teacher transformed a school hallway into a mathematical art gallery, showcasing her students’ artwork and mathematical thinking.


Dr. Ward is a mathematics educator and author who regularly presents on using art in mathematics. You can order her activity books from her site: http://mathgoggles.com/Order_Now_.html.

Just a further note to those who might be seeking more help that Dr. Perdue offers in-person and Skype edtech training and math tutoring as well as in-world help via SecondLife.  Email to schedule a help session.

As always, I'd love to hear from you.  Especially, I would love to hear if anyone has tried some of these activities combining math and art.


Original blog post

Crayons in Algebra Class article in STEAM-ed Magazine

Sol LeWitt info

Sol LeWitt’s art on MoMa’s site

More about Sol LeWitt

More about Conceptual Art

Schedule a presentation from Dr. Ward here

Dr. Ward’s TPT Resources Page

Rimwe's Facebook Page

Rimwe's Math Board on Pinterest


The Solver Blog

Guest Post Author:  Dr. Robin A. Ward

Blog Author:  Dr. Diana S. Perdue

© Rimwe Educational Resources LLC 2019