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Mathematicians get creative behind the lens

February 3rd, 2017

Shutterbugs were on the hunt for award-winning angles from which to capture their subjects for a geometry-inspired digital photography competition.

The creative snappers from each year group at The Grange and Inglefield House were asked to submit one picture which featured 2D or 3D shapes, tessellating patterns, lines or angles.

They were encouraged to look for interesting shapes and designs in buildings and manmade structures, as well as in nature.

With the same brief given to pupils at both schools, the boys and girls were told: “Maths is all around you – in the street, the shopping centre, railway stations, in fact everywhere you go.

“We want you to take a photograph (it must be all your own work) of maths in the world around you. Look at the shapes of buildings, what’s beneath your feet and above your head and see the maths.”
One winner and one runner up were chosen from each year group at each school.

Adam Ahmad, maths and English teacher at The Grange, said: “There were some absolutely fantastic photographs which captured various geometrical aspects in nature as well as in manmade structures.

“There were some amazing pictures from New York, Dubai, Norway and India, as well as our local area.  Choosing overall winners was extremely difficult. Thank you to all of the children for their fabulous entries.”

Over at Inglefield House, Headmistress Hilary Phillips judged the entries and was very impressed by the high quality of photographs submitted, saying: “It was very hard to decide on the winners.”

And the winners are…

PI, Oscar – Fruit

Mr Ahmad said: “We chose this photograph as Oscar had really thought about the brief and put a lot of effort into creating an amazing picture. It was great to see his enthusiasm in creating the image, thinking about the maths.”

Oscar, whose father is a photographer, had access to great equipment and advice, but the ideas, preparations and photo are Oscar’s own.

He wrote: “My photo is of some fruits cut into halves. They were 3D shapes and now they are 2D shapes.  I chose these because I remembered that in one assembly, Mr Shaw told us that if you cut an apple in half there is a star.  A star has some great angles and the other fruits also have star shapes. They have acute angles mostly.  I put them into a group of four to make a square pattern out of circles.  The fruits cut in half show patterns that have some tessellation, such as the orange segments.”




Year 3, Grace – Pylon Art

 In the description which accompanied Grace’s winning snap, she wrote: “This is a photograph taken from the base of a pylon on the banks of the Severn Estuary. I chose this photograph as it shows the geometry of its engineering and its purpose, but also it shows it has beauty as a modern structure and modern art form.

Geometric shapes include scalene triangle, equilateral triangle, isosceles triangle, square, trapezoid, rhombus and parallelogram. I enjoyed this exercise and it was hard to choose just the one entry!”

Mrs Phillips said: “Grace’s stunning photograph of the pylon taken from the base looking upwards showed wonderful examples of lines, angles and shapes.”

PII, Tom – Bridge at Westonbirt Arboretum

Mr Ahmad said: “We chose this photo as we loved the way shape of the bridge drew you into the photograph. The lighting made it interesting and slight mist added mystery. It made you wonder ‘where does the bridge lead?’ The aerial perspective also made it very interesting.”

Tom chose to capture Westonbirt Arboretum’s new sky walk bridge because he noticed the “tessellated patterns in the criss-cross timber frames, creating triangles and parallelograms”. He also noted: “The angles in the triangles are acute because it is less than 90 degrees and there are obtuse angles in the parallelograms. The wires either side of the timber frame are parallel to each other.”

Year 4, Rosie – Spider’s Web

Mrs Phillips picked this wintry shot as the winner, saying: “Rosie’s photograph of a perfect spider’s web on a frosty morning captured the simple beauty of nature and the mathematical structures that are found in many natural objects.”

Rosie’s entry read: “I took this photograph on my mummy’s phone during a frosty walk up May Hill over Christmas. I decided to send this picture as it occurred naturally and it is a good example of geometry.”






Bill’s award-winning image stood out to Mr Ahmad because: “It showed many maths aspects of lines, angles, shapes and symmetry. The picture shows something you may see every day at HMSG, but not everyone would have appreciated the maths. The photo is also well shot with interesting lighting and a lot of contrasting colours. The horizontal and vertical lines created by the scaffolding made it a great photograph.”

And Bill said: “I chose this picture because of the right angle windows. The scaffolding creates parallel and perpendicular lines, and the way the light reflects on the glass (that’s why I am invisible in the picture!) creates lots of reflective symmetry.”


Year 5, Elizabeth – Cascade Over 90° Angles

Elizabeth captured this watery action shot next to the waterfront in Bristol’s city centre. She said: “I liked the appearance of the 90° angles softened by the water.”

Mrs Phillips said: “Elizabeth’s photograph of water cascading over the steps was taken from a clever angle and showed an effective contrast between the sharp 90° angle and the glistening, bubbling water.”



PIV, Phillip – Bridges Community Centre

Mr Ahmad chose Phillip’s picture as the winner because: “It took something you may see quite often, but without noticing the geometry. We liked the framing and perspective of the picture and how the light comes through the window. The picture has a peaceful, relaxed vibe about it.”

And Phillip said: “I chose this because the window features rectangles with a pretty tessellating pattern inside them and the banisters intersect to make an obtuse angle. The horizontal lines of the window are parallel.”

Year 6, Aneshka – Winter Life

Aneshka chose to enter a photograph of her alpacas “hidden behind the winter’s early morning sun rays shining on the wood.” She added: “I enjoy walking through my garden in the chilly and very early morning.”

Mrs Phillips said: “Aneshka’s photograph demonstrated a very pleasing composition, with the sun highlighting the concentric circles on the gate post in the foreground and her alpacas in the background.”

Well done to all who entered!

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