Monthly Archives: October 2018

Is maths creative?

Prior to the discovering maths elective, I would never have associated maths with the term ‘creative’. When thinking about this concept myself, I found it was only right to see if those around me shared my original thoughts, that maths is not creative. When surveying 10 of my friends and family, who have not taken part in the discovering maths elective, the results were as followed:

Yes – 2 votes

No – 8 votes

This shows a shared opinion that people around me would not view maths as creative. However, I now know, this is certainly not the case.

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Maths (2011) suggests that an understanding of shape is crucial to create art using mathematics. In our workshop we were asked to draw a face. As simple as this sounds, the majority of our class had the same response…laughter. Art is not a strong point of mine and after seeing my work, you too will agree. However, once we had drawn one portrait, it was obvious that we needed some guidance. This came in the form of maths. We next had the chance to follow specific mathematical instructions involving measurements and line to create another portrait of a man. This time a much more realistic and proportionate face was created. The difference in drawings is evidently huge as by considering scale, shapes and proportions, facial features became more accurate and thus more pleasing to the eye. Jonathan very kindly described my work as ‘a child’s drawing turned into a respectable one’.

Another form of art that is based upon maths is tessellation. Simplistically, Maths is Fun (2018), wrote that tessellation is where a surface is covered with a pattern of flat shapes that has no gaps or overlaps. This can be seen in bathroom tiling, brick walls and even on football. Additionally, when considering nature and how complex it can be, we must consider the underlying mathematics.

Above shows a honeycomb created by bees, which contains a perfect pattern of hexagons. This is a prime example of tessellation in our surroundings as bees create these nests.

I believe it is very important to emphasise to our future pupils that maths and art are so closely related. By making links to other curricular areas it shows clearly connectedness This is one of Ma (2010) fundamental principles of mathematics, that are of key importance throughout our module of discovering mathematics. Thus, I believe that maths being creative should be well known and explored within our classrooms.


Ma, L. (2010) Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States. Available at: (Accessed: 29 October 2018).

Maths is Fun (2018) Tessellation. Available at: (Accessed: 28 October 2018).

NCTEM Admin (2011) The Art of Mathematics. Available at: (Accessed: 29 October