Eighth and 9th graders in Michelle Gee’s Geometry classes recently completed a STEAM project where they researched global weaving traditions that inspired their own woven textiles. They transformed mathematical patterns into visually stunning pieces. “There is a lot of math in weaving,” Gee explains. “Looms are almost like computers, organizing different threads to generate patterns.”
Initially inspired by a project from Claire Kinder’s class that examined geometric patterns and color in Ghanaian kente cloth, Gee and her students researched the cultural and spiritual significance of weaving traditions across the world, learning how color, symbols, and patterns convey meaning based on cultural context and traditions. The students then transformed mathematical patterns into visually stunning woven pieces, selecting patterns like the Fibonacci sequence, Pascal’s Triangle, fractals and more to create a spreadsheet of their pattern and weave their own works.
“Visualizing mathematical patterns can give rise to beautiful, visual things,” Gee says. “Sometimes people show you a list of numbers and say, ‘Isn’t this fascinating?’ and that might not connect with everyone. We’re visualizing math in a way that makes it more accessible for all students.”
Below are a few designs that students created.