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Developing creativity with mathematics

How do you connect art and math? High school math teacher Mélanie Morissette found an original way to do so by using the Polypad application with her students. The students even had the opportunity to participate in an international contest (and one of them won!).

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By Susanne Bergmann

How do you connect art and math? High school math teacher Mélanie Morissette found an original way to do so by using the Polypad application with her students. Her students (her school is all-girls) even had the opportunity to participate in an international competition (and one of them won!).

For years, the 1st and 5th grade math teacher has beene Mélanie Morissette, a high school teacher at Collège Saint-Joseph in Gatineau, was looking for ideas on social networks to further develop her students' creativity. She finally discovered the free Polypad application, produced by Mathigon, and took training to use it optimally.

Polypad is a virtual manipulation tool for geometry, number operations, fractions, algebra, probability and statistics. Melanie began using the application with her students during a geometry class.

A drawing contest

While researching the app, she discovered that there was an inaugural drawing contest for high school youth (ages 12 and up), the Polypad Art Contest - Mathigon. Despite the lack of examples for inspiration, she encouraged her students to participate.

And what a great success! This resulted in some interesting creations, such as 3D drawings, artworks or pavements (geometrical shapes), which were submitted to the contest. To discover the creations of the first edition of this contest, consult the examples provided by Mélanie Morissette : Polypad drawings - Google Docs.

After the end of classes, the teacher received a nice surprise: one of her students, Inass Boujda, was among the finalists! Here is the work in question: 

Africa (mathigon.org)

Creativity and mathematics

Frequently, creativity and mathematics are perceived as two completely separate worlds. Yet it is possible to bring them together. According to the teacher, one should not hesitate to challenge students with this type of problem solving. "Even for students who are less comfortable with traditional problem solving, using such a tool can stimulate their imagination. Indeed, every time we offer them a creative task, they manage to surprise us!" She cites the example of her fellow teachers who give the same creative task to their students year after year, and each year the students still surprise their teachers with new creations.

Workshop at the GRMS Congress

Get ready... We have the scoop! Mélanie Morissette, who is also a member of the board of directors of the Groupe des responsables en mathématique au secondaire (GRMS), has confirmed that there will be a workshop on the Polypad platform at the next conference. It will be held on November 3 and 4, 2022 in Trois-Rivières.


Other creations

Simone Racine

Victoria Pilon

Frédérique Gauthier

Nicole Croitoru

Adriana Mesa Rojas 

Rosalie Verkade

Marie-Maude Maranda-Lefier

Jasmine Adam

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