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ART AND GEOMETRY: THE ROLE OF PERSPECTIVE GEOMETRY IN EDUCATION


Ellen Slocum HON 4010 Research Paper

Abstract
There has long existed a connection between mathematics and art. Most commonly, this is seen when examining the relationship between geometry and art. When it comes to the teaching of mathematics, and really any subject, experts agree that it is important to relate the material to the students life. An important part of education is showing students that what they are learning matters; that they are learning something that can be used in the real world. Perspective geometry is perhaps one of the greatest of examples of mathematical applications; specifically how they can be incorporated in many different levels of schooling. Including specific examples of how mathematics and art combine to illustrate situations that students come across every day, perspective geometry is an extremely important topic. These real life situations are the main reason that it is important for the ideas of perspective geometry to be incorporated in schools across varying skill levels. This incorporation should exist not only as a part of a separate subject curriculum, meaning solely as a part of the mathematics curriculum, but as a part of a multidisciplinary curriculum, incorporating mathematics, art, and history. Beginning with a brief history of perspective and leading to how this topic can be incorporated in todays classroom, this research project will stress the role the topic of perspective should play in education, throughout various academic subjects.

Introduction Throughout history perspective has played an important role in both the artistic world and the mathematical world. In art, perspective can be used to give life to paintings and drawings; allowing artists to create realistic works of art instead of flat imitations of the real objects. Through their work with perspective in mathematics, geometers have shown that there are specific methods and formulas that can be used to represent three-dimensional objects on a twodimensional surface; the coordinate plane being one such example. This relationship between geometry and art is perhaps one of the most important relationships as well as one that is easily seen; both mathematics and art are working towards the common goal of representing threedimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. In todays classrooms, experts agree that students learn best when they are able to create connections between what they are learning in

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the classroom and the real world; perspective geometry can help students to do that. Perspective geometry, although given a mathematical name, is a subject that can be taught through several academic subjects; including art, mathematics, and social studies. This subject can be taught throughout various levels of education, including both the elementary level and the secondary level. Perspective is something that is highly applicable to all students; it is something that they deal with every day, and because of this the topic of perspective should play a role in education throughout various academic subjects and levels. Definition of Perspective Throughout the centuries there have been many different definitions of the word perspective. These definitions can be examined from a general sense (dictionary definition), an artistic sense, and a mathematical sense. In general, perspective can be defined as the way we see something, either our view of an object or a specific idea. In an artistic sense, perspective can be thought of as a series of techniques used to create the illusion of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface. In mathematics, the definition of perspective has more to do with the difference between what we see and what we think we see. Similar to the artistic definition, we can think of this as how we can represent a three-dimensional, or real world object, on a twodimensional, or flat, surface; the difference between an object and a picture of that object. In a sense, mathematical perspective is the representation of an object (three-dimensional) on a flat (two-dimensional) surface through the use of mathematical tools, such as a coordinate plane (Griffin, 2003; Projective Geometry, 2012).

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History of Perspective Perspective began first as an observation; a realization that artistic works were not as realistic as they could be. Pieces of art, namely paintings and drawings, often appeared flat. Artists were not able to accurately represent these three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface, such as a canvas or wall. Many early civilizations did not use perspective to accurately represent their subjects. Artwork without perspective is typically characterized by subjects (objects) that appear flat and
Figure 1

subjects that are not in proportion (everything being a similar size). Pieces such as Lamenting Women from the Tomb of Ramose (figure 1), an untitled piece from the Tomb of Khae (figure 2), and the painting Madonna and Child Surrounded by Angels created by an unknown artist (figure 3) are examples of such works. As can be seen from these examples, the pictures appear flat and the subjects do not appear proportional. In all, these pieces are not very realistic looking. In art perspective is used create a more realistic piece; this technique began to appear prominently during the renaissance, especially among artists like Raphael and Titian.
Figure 3 Figure 2

Artwork with perspective is typically characterized by subjects appearing to have depth and subjects that are more realistic in size and proportion. Pieces such as the School of Athens created by Raphael (figure 4) as well as Sacred
Figure 4

and Profane Love created by Titian (figure 5) are examples of such work. As the idea of perspective began to develop in art, mathematicians
Figure 5

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became determined to develop a mathematical method for determining perspective. For mathematicians this meant creating a series of rules and formulas that explain the exact process that can be used to represent a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface, the coordinate plane (Griffin, 2003). Education Experts agree that the most effective teaching occurs through the implementation of specific strategies including, exploratory programs, interdisciplinary teaming, and varied instruction. Exploratory programs are created as a way to introduce students to a wide array of academic, vocational, and recreational subjects in a school setting. This introduction typically occurs through classes outside the general curriculum and through extra-curricular activities. Exploratory programs use the students natural curiosity to engage them in activities that are both educational and enjoyable. Interdisciplinary teaming refers to the process of organizing a group of several teachers and assigning them to the same group of students. Interdisciplinary teaming is most effective when teaching thematic units; units that are centered on a central theme, topic, concept, or idea. Thematic units are especially helpful when it comes to the transfer of information from one situation (subject) to another. Thematic units are often referred to as a type of multidisciplinary curriculum in which a theme, topic, concept, or idea is taught through its relation to several different academic subjects. In a multidisciplinary curriculum, after picking a central theme, teachers focus on answering the question, what can various subject areas contribute to the study of the theme (Beane). Through a multidisciplinary curriculum, students can achieve a more complete understanding. Varied instruction involves the integration of students own experiences into the teaching of the material. This integration focuses on issues that are relevant to the student; relating these issues to the current instructional theme or topic. These

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specific instructional strategies are helpful in all academic subject areas, but they are especially helpful in the teaching of mathematics. When it comes to mathematics one of the most common questions heard in the classroom is, why do I need to know this. Students are always looking to discover why they need to understand a certain topic and the role it will play later in life. This is where varied instruction comes into play. Through varied instruction the students personal experiences, challenges they face in everyday life, are used to teach the current topic. In todays mathematics classes students are often taught through the use of real world applications. Teachers try their best to show students the relationship between the material they are learning and everyday life. This type of varied instruction is especially helpful to students, showing them that the topics they are covering in class will be useful to them in their future lives, outside the school setting. Interdisciplinary teaming, including a multidisciplinary curriculum is especially helpful in the mathematics classroom. Mathematics is often a topic that students have trouble understanding; they do not understand how it relates to other topics or how it could ever be useful. A multidisciplinary curriculum can help students to understand these ideas more completely. Students will see the role that mathematics plays in their other academic subjects, giving them a chance to examine mathematical concepts from several different angles (Dildine, 2004; Griffin, 2003; Beane; Association, 1996). Perspective Geometry Perspective geometry or projective geometry as it is often referred to, is the study of the interpretation of real world objects onto a Cartesian coordinate system. Simply put, perspective geometry involves creating a representation of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface (a coordinate plane). The topic of perspective geometry contains many real world applications of mathematics, helping students to see the role it can play in their everyday life.

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There are several different types of perspective, however, from an educational standpoint, at both the elementary and secondary levels, a focus on linear perspective, specifically one-point perspective would be sufficient. Focusing on linear perspective, there are several rules in both art and mathematics that dictate specific characteristics and how the associated procedures are to be carried out (Frantz & Crannell, 2011; Dildine, 2004; Griffin, 2003; Projective Geometry, 2012). In art these basic principles include: Parallel lines converging as they get farther away, eventually touching as they approach the vanishing point on the horizon line. Closer objects appearing larger, clearer, brighter, and more intensely colored. Objects that are farther away appearing smaller, less focused, less bright, and duller in color. In mathematics these basic principles, meaning formulas and theorems include: Graphing will occur in three-dimensional space where each point is represented by 3 coordinates, P (x, y, z). When examining points on the graph the height of an object will be determined by the y value, the distance from the viewer will be determined by the z value, and the position side to side (left/right) will be determined by the x value. On any given object the point will be represented by P (x, y, z) and the perspective image of the same point will be represented by P(x, y, 0). The viewers eye is located at the point E (0, 0, -d). The picture plane is located at the plane z = 0.

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The Perspective Theorem: Given a point P (x, y, z) on an object, with z > 0, the coordinate x and y of its perspective image P(x, y, 0) are given by and where d is the distance from the viewers eye (viewing distance) at E (0, 0, -d) to the picture plane z = 0.

The Vanishing Point Theorem: If two or more lines in the real world are parallel to one another, but not parallel to the picture plane, then they have the same vanishing point. The perspective images of these lines will not be parallel. If fully extended in a drawing, the image lines will intersect at the vanishing point.

One-point perspective occurs if: There is only one vanishing point V to which lines that are part of the drawing converge. Those image lines that converge to V represent lines in the real world that are orthogonal to the picture plane.

Standard Support An important component to consider when planning a unit is ensuring that the material being taught can be supported by standards, both at a state level and a national level. In art these national standards are produced by the NAEA, the National Arts Education Association. In mathematics these national standards are produced by the NCTM, the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics. In social studies these national standards are produced by the NCSS, the National Council for the Social Studies. To ensure that this topic could be applicable to all states, only national standards were analyzed for the purpose of this paper (Associations, 1994; National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: Chapter 2- The Themes of Social Studies;

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Math Standards and Expectations, 2013). The following standards support the inclusion of a perspective unit at various academic levels: NAEA: National Arts Education Association: Visual Arts (K-4) Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures Achievement Standard: Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places Students demonstrate how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other in making and studying works of art Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines Achievement Standard: Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum Visual Arts (5-8) Content Standard #2: Using knowledge of structures and functions

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Achievement Standard: Students generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work Students employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas Students select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures Achievement Standard: Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures Students describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines Achievement Standard: Students compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context Students describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts

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Visual Arts (9-12) Content Standard #2: Using knowledge of structures and functions Achievement Standard, Advanced: Students demonstrate the ability to compare two or more perspectives about the use of organizational principles and functions in artwork and to defend personal evaluations of these perspectives Students create multiple solutions to specific visual arts problems that demonstrate competence in producing effective relationships between structural choices and artistic functions Content Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas Achievement Standard, Proficient: Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally, and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life Achievement Standard, Advanced: Students describe the origins of specific images and ideas and explain why they are of value in their artwork and in the work of others Students evaluate and defend the validity of sources for content and the manner in which subject matter, symbols, and images are used in the students' works and in significant works by others

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Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures Achievement Standard, Proficient: Students differentiate among a variety of historical and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of works of art Students describe the function and explore the meaning of specific art objects within varied cultures, times, and places Students analyze relationships of works of art to one another in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture, justifying conclusions made in the analysis and using such conclusions to inform their own art making Achievement Standard, Advanced: Students analyze and interpret artworks for relationships among form, context, purposes, and critical models, showing understanding of the work of critics, historians, aestheticians, and artists Students analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across time and among cultural/ethnic groups to formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines Achievement Standard, Proficient: Students compare the materials, technologies, media, and processes of the visual arts with those of other arts disciplines as they are used in creation and types of analysis Students compare characteristics of visual arts within a particular historical period or style with ideas, issues, or themes in the humanities or sciences

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Achievement Standard, Advanced: Students synthesize the creative and analytical principles and techniques of the visual arts and selected other arts disciplines, the humanities, or the sciences NCTM: National Council for Teachers of Mathematics Grades Pre-K-2 Geometry Standard Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships Expectations: In prekindergarten through grade 2 all students should recognize, name, build, draw, compare, and sort two- and three-dimensional shapes; describe attributes and parts of two- and three-dimensional shapes;

Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and other representational systems Expectations: In prekindergarten through grade 2 all students should describe, name, and interpret relative positions in space and apply ideas about relative position; describe, name, and interpret direction and distance in navigating space and apply ideas about direction and distance; Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems

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Expectations: In prekindergarten through grade 2 all students should create mental images of geometric shapes using spatial memory and spatial visualization; recognize and represent shapes from different perspectives;

Grades 3-5 Geometry Standard Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships Expectations: In grades 35 all students should identify, compare, and analyze attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes and develop vocabulary to describe the attributes; classify two- and three-dimensional shapes according to their properties and develop definitions of classes of shapes such as triangles and pyramids; Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and other representational systems Expectations: In grades 35 all students should describe location and movement using common language and geometric vocabulary; make and use coordinate systems to specify locations and to describe paths;

Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems

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Expectations: In grades 35 all students should identify and build a three-dimensional object from two-dimensional representations of that object; identify and draw a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object;

Grades 6-8 Geometry Standard Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships Expectations: In grades 68 all students should precisely describe, classify, and understand relationships among types of two- and three-dimensional objects using their defining properties; Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and other representational systems Expectations: In grades 68 all students should use coordinate geometry to represent and examine the properties of geometric shapes; Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems Expectations: In grades 68 all students should

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use two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects to visualize and solve problems such as those involving surface area and volume;

recognize and apply geometric ideas and relationships in areas outside the mathematics classroom, such as art, science, and everyday life.

Grades 9-12 Geometry Standard Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships Expectations: In grades 912 all students should analyze properties and determine attributes of two- and three-dimensional objects; explore relationships (including congruence and similarity) among classes of twoand three-dimensional geometric objects, make and test conjectures about them, and solve problems involving them; establish the validity of geometric conjectures using deduction, prove theorems, and critique arguments made by others; Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and other representational systems Expectations: In grades 912 all students should investigate conjectures and solve problems involving two- and three-dimensional objects represented with Cartesian coordinates.

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Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems Expectations: In grades 912 all students should draw and construct representations of two- and three-dimensional geometric objects using a variety of tools; visualize three-dimensional objects and spaces from different perspectives and analyze their cross sections; use geometric ideas to solve problems in, and gain insights into, other disciplines and other areas of interest such as art and architecture. NCSS: National Council for the Social Studies Time, Continuity, and Change Human beings seek to understand their historic roots and to locate themselves in time. Knowing what things were like in the past and how things change and develop helps us answer important questions about our current condition. People, Places, and Environment Todays students are aware of the world beyond their personal locations. As students study this content, they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives. Social, cultural, economic, and civic demands require such knowledge to make informed and critical decisions about relationships between people and their environment. Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

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Institutions exert enormous influence over us. Institutions are organizations that embody and promote the core social values of their members. It is important for students to know how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they control and influence individuals and culture, and how institutions can be maintained or charged. Classroom Application The topic of perspective is one that is best taught in a multidisciplinary sense, allowing students to examine the ideas through a mathematical, artistic, and historical viewpoint. Through this multidisciplinary examination students will gain a better understanding of perspective including how it relates to other academic subjects and to their everyday life. The main focus of this unit would be from a mathematical sense, with the art and historical information being used to show applications of perspective and its historical background. This section focuses on specific ideas for implementing this topic in mathematics, social studies, and art at both an elementary and secondary level. In mathematics the unit on perspective geometry will focus on the representation of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface, the coordinate plane. Key words associated with a lesson in mathematics on perspective include: Two-dimensional Three-dimensional Linear perspective Perspective image Line Perpendicular line (orthogonal) Parallel line Coordinate plane

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X-axis Y-axis Z-axis One-point perspective Horizon line Vanishing point Picture plane Viewers eye Desargues Theorem

At the elementary level, namely kindergarten through fifth grade, the mathematical focus will include an understanding of the different characteristics and properties associated with two and three-dimensional shapes. The students will begin to recognize the differences between two and three-dimensional shapes. Through this lesson the students will gain an understanding of the positions of these objects in space, later moving to use the coordinate system to recreate these objects. These students will begin to recognize the role perspective plays in images, including the difference between an object and the perspective image of that object. The computer program Geometers Sketchpad will be introduced at this level to aid students in the mathematical understanding of perspective. Through the use of Geometers Sketchpad the students will create three-dimensional representations and manipulate these representations through the program. At the secondary level, namely sixth grade through twelfth grade, the mathematical focus will include a more in depth understanding, building off of what they have learned at the elementary level. New mathematical ideas will be introduced including the three-dimensional axis and how to determine specific points to create the perspective image (through the use of similar triangles). At this level, students will begin recognizing and applying these mathematical ideas outside the classroom in the real world. They will begin to understand more specifically the role mathematics plays in not only in other classes like art and social studies, but everyday life as well. Students at the secondary level will also continue to use Geometers Sketchpad to further

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develop ideas and represent theorems (Frantz & Crannell, 2011; Dildine, 2004; Griffin, 2004; Projective Geometry, 2012; Idaho State Department of Education; Free Waldorf High School Downloads; Mathematics Department, 2013; Math Standards and Expectations, 2013). In social studies the unit on perspective will focus on the cultures in which perspective was used or not used. Mainly students will examine the history of art and architecture in different cultures, the role that art played in society, and the role society played in the creation of art. Specifically this would include cultures like Ancient Egypt and Renaissance Europe. Key words associated with a lesson in social studies on the history of perspective include: Architecture Hierarchy of scale Hieroglyphics Secular Fresco

At the elementary level, namely kindergarten through fifth grade, the historical focus will include an understanding of the beginnings of the perspective movement in both mathematics and art. Students will focus on the role perspective played throughout history and how that can help to answer questions about art and mathematics today. Students will also understand the role of perspective in society, including its impact on culture and the economy. In focusing on the role of perspective in society, students will understand the role that institutions, such as the church and royal families, groups, and individuals played. At the secondary level, namely sixth grade through twelfth grade, the historical focus will include a deeper understanding of the beginnings of the perspective movement in both mathematics and art. This deeper understanding will require the students to examine the historical relationship between art and mathematics including; the role of perspective throughout time, the impact of perspective on culture and economy, and the role of specific institutions, groups, and individuals. At the secondary level,

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students will reexamine many things taught at the elementary level to attain a deeper understanding of the relationships involved (Griffin, 2003; Idaho State Department of Education; National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: Chapter 2- The Themes of Social Studies). In art the unit on perspective will focus on the creation of visual representations of threedimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. In these courses this will include students working with various mediums including, canvas and paper. Students will demonstrate their understanding of ideas involved in perspective through their created pieces of art. Key words associated with a lesson in art on perspective include: Horizon line Vanishing point Convergence Overlapping (Superimposing) Texture Spacing Focus Brightness Shade (shadow) Shape Color Canvas Chiaroscuro Foreground Background

At the elementary level, namely kindergarten through fifth grade, the art focus will include creating works of art that demonstrate an understanding of linear perspective. Students will begin to understand the role of visual arts in history and different cultures and the connections that can be drawn among different types of visual arts. Students will be able to draw simple geometric three-dimensional shapes and understand the structure and characteristics of these shapes. As the students move more into this unit they will acquire a basic understanding of the foreground,

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background, horizon line, and vanishing point in pieces of art, both historical pieces and their own creations. At the secondary level, namely sixth grade through twelfth grade, the art focus will include creating more advanced examples of art that demonstrates an understanding of linear perspective. At an advanced level, students will begin to study not only one-point perspective, but two and three-point perspective as well. At this point, students will move on from drawing geometric shapes and focus on drawing real world objects and applying the specific characteristics and techniques associated with perspective drawing (Idaho State Department of Education; Associations, 1994). Conclusion Perspective, the representation of real world objects (three-dimensional) on a flat surface (two-dimensional), has historically played a major role in both art and mathematics. From the beginning, perspective served as a problem to be solved for both mathematicians and artists: three-dimensional objects were not being accurately represented on a two-dimensional surface. For artists, this meant that their artwork (drawings and paintings) did not appear realistic. Something was wrong with the conversion of the three-dimensional objects to the twodimensional surface. To answer these questions mathematicians and artists alike began to investigate perspective and the role it played in their work. Experts in education agree that some of the most effective teaching occurs through the use of real world applications and a multidisciplinary curriculum. Both of these strategies lend themselves to the teaching of mathematics, specifically to the teaching of perspective geometry. In order for a unit to be taught in any classroom, the teacher must be able to support it with appropriate standards from each academic subject that will be covered. This topic or perspective is supported by national standards in mathematics, art, and social studies, indicating that a thematic unit on perspective

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could be incorporated in any state, at any academic level, and throughout various academic subjects. In the classroom there are specific ideas that exist showing how the topic of perspective could be incorporated in a multidisciplinary curriculum using mathematics, art, and social studies at both an elementary and a secondary level. This information shows that the topic of perspective can and should play a role in education through various academic subjects and levels.

References
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Griffin, W. (2003). The Perfect Perspective: A Mathematical Analysis of Perspective Using Tools Available to Middle School Students. The Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations, 6, 217-239. Idaho State Department of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2013, from Geometry and Arts Curriculum: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/humanities/docs/curriculum/14%20Perspective%20Drawi ng.pdf National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: Chapter 2The Themes of Social Studies. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2013, from National Council for the Social Studies: http://www.socialstudies.org/standards/strands