Google Art Project + Common Core Math = #EduAwesome Project-Based Learning


The Google Art Project “is an initiative to provide thousands of high quality, high resolution images from museums across the globe in one place, making art’s history, meaning and beauty available in ways never possible before.” Two creative ways to leverage this in the classroom: zoom reaaaaaallly far in, and “walk” through a museum (think Google Street View).

So, that’s the Google Art Project. Let’s talk Common Core. The Common Core was made for project-based learning. Here’s a description of Common Core for Math:

require students to experiment with tools and processes, apply abstract reasoning and critical thinking, and persevere in problem solving in complex mathematical tasks. Student must be able to combine skills and processes to solve multi-step processes, and solve word and modeling problems that may have many appropriate representations and approaches.

This project idea addresses the new Common Core Math standards and uses the Google Art Project. It can easily be scaffolded for grades 3-8, it aligns with the third and eighth grade standards, and fits developmentally well with fifth grade-ish.

Take a moment and look at A Sunday on La Grande Jatte on the Google Art Project. (Don’t just look below–play with the image in the Google Art Project!)


We don’t know how many dots are in this painting. (Read: there is no correct answer.) Here are the steps I would go through with my class. You can do this in one class period, or stretch it out over a week.

  1. Look at image.
  2. Estimate how many dots there are in the entire painting (whole class).
  3. Zoom in.
  4. Zoom waaaay in.
  5. Estimate how many dots there are in the zoomed-in section (whole class).
  6. Break into teams of four. Devise a strategy for figuring out how many dots this painting has.
  7. As a team, estimate how many dots there are in the entire painting.
  8. Share your strategy and results with the class.
  9. As a class, compare estimating strategies.
  10. Round two: revise your strategy. Estimate again as a group.
  11. Share your results again.
  12. As a class, decide what your final answer is.

Collaborate with other classes. Merge this into a Mystery Skype conversation, or connect with other classes in the Flat Classroom Project. There are so many options for integrating art from the Google Art Project into math lessons. The DIY section of the site has other eduawesome lesson ideas. Finally, if you’re loving these ideas, join the Google Art Project Community over at Google+.

A World Without Office

A World Without Office

For most of last month, I was without a computer. After two trips to the Apple Store and a new logic board, I finally have a working laptop. During the process, some “Genius” erased my hard drive. It was backed up, but that meant I would need to reinstall everything.

It was easy enough to install the operating system and migrate my user data (aka documents). After some geeky advice, I decided to manually install every application. This gave me the rare opportunity to look at what applications I actually use. And I decided:

Microsoft Office will not be on my laptop.

I use Google Drive for most of my basic word processing and spreadsheeting, and I use Pages (Apple’s iWork) for more involved documents. I don’t need Word or Excel any longer. You might be thinking I forgot to mention PowerPoint. I didn’t.

If someone emails me a .docx file, I can import it and convert it into a Google Doc. If they insist, I can export it as a .docx. I’m thinking that if we are emailing back and forth, we should just be using a Google Doc anyway.

I’ll let you know how it goes. For the record, I’m not anti-Office. I honestly believe I just don’t need it anymore. I’ll be keeping track of how often I think I need Office or iWork. I have a feeling the answer will be not too often.