Mathematics in Three Dimensional Design: The Integration of Mathematical Thinking into the Design Core

Don R. Schol
Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science (1998)
Pages 203–208


Five years ago I became Coordinator of our School of Visual Arts freshmen level Core Design Program. Until that time, I had been teaching senior undergraduate and graduate level students in our sculpture program. Suddenly, I was surrounded by freshmen and I experienced an awakening to a new generation of "screenagers"[l]. Coincidental to my assuming responsibility for the design program, my colleagues and I came to a consensus about instituting a new instructional format to ensure greater continuity in the presentation of the program. This format now consists of one hour per week of lecture on the elements and principles of design and four hours per week of laboratory application of those elements and principles. As program coordinator I present the weekly lectures in a large class and supervise 20 graduate teaching-assistants who teach the labs under my immediate direction. Our program is large and averages 350 to 400 design students per semester. During any given semester, approximately half of those students are involved with three-dimensional design issues. In my mind the implementation of the new lecture/lab format called for a review of the entire design curriculum. I wanted to examine the nature of student questions about the validity of continuing to teach the program according to the old teaching model, which promoted a high degree of diversity from one lab section to another. Times have changed and so have methodologies in education.