Designing | Samples | Other Resources


What is mathematics? Some say the mathematics is what we do in class at school or maybe what mathematicians do but mathematics is much more than that!

A mathematician named Alan Bishop has said that mathematics is counting, measuring, and locating. When you design, explain or play with counting, measuring or locating, you are doing math. This is common to all cultures. If you think of mathematics in this way, you might begin to see it all around you. Be a mathematician and explore designing!

Designing is about making something, and the technology used to represent it, for home life, to trade, to wear, for war, to play, or for religious purposes. Also, design can apply to the space and things around you too, for example, to houses, fish racks, smoke houses, villages, gardens, fields, roads, towns and more.

At the heart of designing is taking something from nature and turning it into something else. All cultures design. What they design is different and the amount of designed forms is also different. What is designed depends on what a particular culture think is needed. What is important in mathematics education is the design of objects, the "mental template," rather than the making of them. Design is needed the most for large-scale objects and it is also important if the materials that are required are expensive or rare, or both. These needs have crated a demand for math ideas like those listed below.

Designing develops images, shapes, and geometrical ideas. For your contest entry, here are some other designing ideas that you might choose to explore:
  • Form
  • Spiral
  • Scale
  • Size
  • Properties of objects
  • Shape
  • Pattern
  • Design
  • Geometric 2D shapes (Circle, squares, triangles, pentagons, heptagons, octagons etc.)
  • Geometric 3D objects
  • Properties of shapes
  • Similarity
  • Congruence
  • Ratios

Get creative!

Explore designing and tell me about it through posters, presentations, videos, art projects, or anyway you can think of to “Show Me Your Math!.”


Yukon Samples

Students designed and built a skateboard ramp at a rural Yukon school.

Educators at the school test the ramp.

Samples From Other Jurisdictions

  • Freedom Quilts: Mathematics on the Underground Railroad
    Examine the geometric properties involved in making different quilt patterns and the cultural significance these quilts hold for Africans on southern plantations escaping to freedom. Lesson ideas with mathematical and multicultural connections are provided for classroom teachers.

Other Resources

Designing | Samples | Other Resources