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About Artful Connections with Math

This video series is brought to you as a free public service courtesy of a three year collaboration between Armory Center for the Arts and Pasadena Unified School District. Made possible by a grant from the US Department of Education with additional support from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.

Artful Connections with Math © has been formally evaluated by CRESST: The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For more video lessons, or to learn more about professional development opportunities through Armory Center for the Arts, visit

Artful Connections with Math harnesses the power of art to advance learning and achievement among struggling student populations. The arts open the door for learning in math, by helping to make abstract concepts more concrete, understandable, and approachable. The curriculum takes a hands-on, experiential learning approach that helps students appreciate the relevance of their math studies. Lessons are designed to engage and motivate all styles of learners, particularly visual and kinesthetic. The visual arts-math integrated lessons advance student understanding of grade level mathematics, in a way that enhances instruction and provides students with the building blocks for proficiency at higher grade levels.

With the support of a U.S. Department of Education three year Professional Development for Arts Educators grant, Artful Connections with Math has been developed as a professional development model for the 2nd and 3rd grade levels. The program provides sustained, rigorous professional development training for multi-subject classroom teachers, instilling in them the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver standards-based visual arts-math integrated instruction to students attending high poverty schools, as well as providing key instructional materials and lessons to use in their classrooms. The curriculum has been designed by a seasoned team of Armory trained teaching artists and arts administrators, in partnership with the Pasadena Unified School District. Over the last three years, the Armory’s program has trained 60 classroom teachers and reached over 1,800 students in the PUSD.

This visual arts-math integrated approach to instruction provides the classroom teacher with experience in developing more conceptual learning frameworks, emphasized as best practices by the Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Moreover, the lessons rigorously embody the California Visual Arts Standards to broaden in-school opportunities for meaningful and substantive visual arts instruction. Curriculum will include alignment with the National Core Arts Standards upon final adoption. In the coming years, several additional changes to the program will be made: development of curriculum for the 4th grade; alignment with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy standards; and the addition of a technology component supportive of ELA and visual arts instructional objectives. The technology component will employ a user-friendly app designed by Caltech Classroom Connections for iPads. The Armory’s plan is to take the redesigned program into Los Angeles Unified School District classrooms over the next four years.

Over the last three years with the support of a USDOE grant, the program has been formally evaluated as a professional development model by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA. Each year of the program and informed by the evaluation, the Project Team has worked to increase the programs impact by fine-tuning lesson design and instruction. The resulting portfolios of standards-based lessons and accompanying instructional videos guide the classroom teacher through the lesson, and are being disseminated to the education community with the goal of bringing the power of art into classrooms across the nation.