This book was written and illustrated by sixth grade students at High Tech High Middle School in San Diego, California. It was an interdisciplinary project, combining math, writing and art, and was supported by the two team teachers.
This fantasy tells the story of Jason, a middle school boy in summer school for problems in math, whose father works as a security guard in an art museum. Jason meets Mona Lisa’s sister – Matha Lisa – who transports him into paintings and uses the work of artists to illustrate mathematical concepts. For example, Pablo Picasso’s work is used as foundation for a study of the coordinate plane; Roy Lichtenstein’s for number patterns; Frida Kahlo’s for factor trees.
The whole class worked together to conceptualize, critique and coordinate the book, and a team of three students wrote each chapter. The book was published using an online publishing firm, and is available for purchase; contact the school for information.
How This Project Can Be Useful
- Highlights the power of combing math and fiction writing – it engages the reader in a unique way and allows students to creatively display their content knowledge.
- Shows evocative and carefully done writing, which accurately captures mathematical concepts.
- Displays multiple forms of strong collaboration. Students worked in small groups to write their chapters, and worked together as a class to make decisions and create a cohesive story line. Two teachers collaborated to lead the project.
Common Core State Standards
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