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Art Inspired by Data

Monday, March 1, 2021

6th Grade Math students explore how data tells stories.
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Recently, 6th Grade math students engaged in a project inspired the Dear Data project. Two award-winning information designers, Georgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, created this year-long analog data drawing project. Each week for a year, the artists collected and measured a particular type of data from their own lives. They then used this data to make a drawing on a postcard sheet of paper, putting the data art on one side, and a key to reading the data on the other. Then, they mailed each other the data art. Examples of data they collected include: how many times they said or wrote the word “data” in a week, a variety of data about their book collections, data about the kinds of photos they take on their phone, and data about the sounds that surround them. 

After learning about Dear Data, analyzing many examples of visual data, and practicing their art skills, the 6th-Graders at SFFS started their own journey. First, they decided what data they wanted to collect and set about collecting it. Next, they looked at the data and thought about what they found out. They were then challenged to tell that story visually, using what they learned from their experiments, keeping in mind that their final picture had to be understandable (when using the key). 

For their project, our SFFS students focused on two objectives: 1) To Learn to See – as artists and mathematicians, and to learn about using data as a material and 2) To Observe, Acknowledge, Count, and Draw – essentially, to immerse themselves in the world of data. Additionally, students created their postcards while keeping in mind that data artists design data so it is more accessible and does not overload the brain; seeing patterns and creating beauty, data visualization, has become an art form; and that human beings respond intuitively and emotionally to patterns.

To learn more about the project that inspired our 6th Grade Friends, please visit the Dear Data website at www.dear-data.com/theproject. You can also see more of our students' work on our Facebook and Instagram pages.