Sunday, October 5, 2014

Creativity and mathematics with Mr. Honner

By Anna Dobos: Creativity and mathematics with Mr. Honner

Patrick Honner 

Where is the creativity in Math? I like to learn interesting “stuff” in Math from professionals such as Patrick Honner. I`m always happy to see educators sharing the same philosophy as I believe in. My philosophy has a lot to do with CREATIVITY, so I very much connect with a philosophy of a great mathematician at Brooklyn Technical High School, New York, Patric Honner.  

A primary objective of is to exhibit the math all around us in order to stimulate question-posing and hypothesizing. Would you agree that these are the first steps in structuring a good mathematical investigation?

Mr. Honner is a finalist for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Mr. Honner is a three-time recipient of Math For America‘s Master Teacher Fellowship, and an active in MfA’s professional community. He spoke at the 2012 TEDxNYED conference about creativity and mathematics. I would recommend you to see the short video of his presentation on the TED website

Can you imagine a teacher walking around with a camera? I can. I like that he is also a photographer, who can take pictures of “Math in real life”, you know what I mean. Math is everywhere around us and students should be taught to find it, recognize it, see it, use it, and play with it. Would you agree that we need to make Math more visible? How do you teach your students to see Math around us and make Math more apparent? 

Simple example right here, just look at this photograph showing a view of a city through a rectangular netting. 

Can you think of projecting three-dimensional space onto a two-dimensional coordinate system? 
You can see more pieces from Mr. Honner`s collection of mathematical photography here.



  1. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed this TED talk! I feel that the idea that math can be creative or fun or even artistic for that matter are concepts that simply do not normally associate with the subject of math. We need to make students aware that math is everywhere and not limited to paper and pencil, or solving equations from a textbook. Math can be performed through creative activities that are both fun and engaging. Making math fun and connecting it to things students can relate to help not only make it cross curricular but also relevant for students. The challenge I suppose is finding ways to MAKE math fun, and encouraging our students to see it that way. I feel as though educators have the difficult task of changing this stereotype and exploring how make math meaningful for students. I would argue that this process only becomes more difficult as students grow older. We need to implement these changes and incorporate creativity into math before students disengage and lose interest completely! We could all take note from this teacher and try whatever works to make math fun again!

  2. Thank you Alessandra, I`m glad you enjoyed it and that you connect with my idea of making students aware that math is everywhere and as you said not to limit it to paper and pencil and a textbook. I totally agree with your thought that "we need to implement these changes and incorporate creativity into math before students disengage and lose interest". I think there is plenty of ways to make math fun. Just add a little reality to it, drama, art, music, business, science, building, .... and just keep going. Teachers have many great skills and I think it is OK to show and share them with their students. Just like this Math teacher. Thank you for sharing with the cool rap about trigonometry. I bet the students will not forget his lesson.

  3. What interesting ideas to share with students to show them that math is truly everywhere. I think more and more teachers are thinking "out of the box" in all subject areas and having their students complete lessons and assignments in a variety of ways, especially with the availability of tech. With the integration of tech tools students have many opportunities to demonstrate their learning in ways that are meaningful to them. Sometimes it is hard for a teacher to decide how to assess the wide variety of projects and work submitted by students, but I think this is changing and will become more the norm.