Traditional problems, innovative solutions
Grid Magic is a graphic design package that stimulates creativity in maths.
It enables students to design a grid, incorporating either original or imported graphics, which can then be manipulated both mathematically and graphically to create the most stunning artwork - and that's just by one singularly artistically challenged maths teacher. This is aimed at KS23, although older students, particularly at foundation level, would also benefit.
Mathematically, the full scope of this very attractive software package requires a variety of number and spatial concepts, including symmetry and transformations, co-ordinate geometry, ratios, and percentage increases and decreases. Students will develop a wide range of standard information and communication technology tools and develop a variety of thinking skills as they manipulate and control visual information between the six different areas of the program. Internet access enriches the possibilities but is not necessary.
Starting material is delivered via tutorials (eight to 10 pages) together with activities (two to three pages). The more experienced but less fluent readers could access the program with a little initial support. Q4 Technologies regularly offers free new material on their website, as well as a 24-hour "Ask the Expert" email response.
I was initially concerned about the storage space required for class use, but in fact the .gmPort format requires little disc space. The program uses "re-size" rather than the more technical "enlarge", but otherwise I am very impressed by this user-friendly and mathematically creative way to create spectacular and satisfying page designs, borders, tiled pictures and mosaics, and beautiful and original artwork. I look forward to using it with my classes. A 30-day trial available from is available from the Q4 website.
Jennie Golding is AST and Head of Mathematics at Woodroffe Visual Arts Specialist School in Lyme Regis, Dorset