I’ve done some version of the animal/pet house Desmos project for a couple of years; it’s always a hit. This year I was inspired to put a bit of a spin on it after learning about Diarra Bousso, a fashion designer (and math teacher!) who uses equations to create her patterns.
I did this project after students learned about the slope-intercept form and how to write equations for vertical and horizontal lines. It’s a fantastic example of “real-world math.”
Show students this video of Diarra Bousso discussing how she uses math to create her designs and how her method of production is more sustainable.
2. Tell students that they get to create their own graphic designs using equations like Diarra Bousso! (I WISH we had the funds to actually print their designs on tee-shirts. Next year I will try to make it happen.)
- Each student sketches their design on paper on a coordinate plane. Their design must have at least 2 horizontal lines, 2 vertical lines, 3 slanted lines with positive slopes and 3 slanted lines with different slopes. (Most use way more!)
- I asked the kids to label each of their lines with the equation. (I noticed some teachers only ask kids to label the slopes, which could work well too.)
- Kids use the desmos graphing calculator to re-create their designs digitally. In the process they learn about restricting the domain and range and (if you have time for it) shading using inequalities. I posted this handout with directions on google classroom, but had to show most of them as well.
- Kids write a reflection about what they needed to know/learn to complete this project.
Here are some results from this year:
Here are some other great videos about Diarra Bousso, in case you are interested in learning more:
Forbes: How Fashion Saved This High School Math Teacher’s Life – How Diara Bousso went from working on Wall Street to becoming a math teacher and fashion designer
Politcal Calculations: Fashionable Maths : She discusses her designs, including using combinatorics to create more swimsuit options. Shows many women in bathing suits…so may not be best to show in school.