Playing with mathematics in the arts studio: students’ visual-spatial thinking processes in the context of a studio thinking based-environment
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The aim of the study was to investigate how students make use of visual-spatial thinking processes in a Math-Art Studio Environment in which students are engaged in geometry-rich artworks through Studio Thinking Framework, which describes the nature of learning and teaching in visual art courses (Hetland, Winner, Veneema, & Sheridan, 2013). To achieve this aim, a case study method was employed. Participants of this environment were six seventh grade students enrolled in a public middle school. Data sources of the study were stimulated recall interviews, observation of video recordings of students’ verbal expressions and behaviours in studio environment, and students’ documents (written notes, sketches, and artworks). Data were analysed through qualitative methods to search for indicators of visual-spatial thinking. Analysis of students’ visual-spatial thinking processes indicated that students made use of four major visual-spatial thinking processes in Studio Thinking Based-Math-Art Studio Environment, which were recognizing geometric shapes, decomposing and composing shapes, patterning, and transforming geometric shapes. These processes of visual-spatial thinking were interrelated to each other, which required students to use them in a coordinated manner. Findings of this study also indicated that this studio thinking based-environment had a potential to elicit different processes of visual-spatial thinking.