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Street Mathematics and Street Graffiti

In this week's Math Lint and multiple Math Humor sections to follow, I will be showing some pictures of mathematical graffiti. Most of the graffiti makes sense, being either attempts at humor or a record of something important mathematically.

Yet, one also sees the more usual street graffiti (and tagging) that oddly enough now fits under the category of "street math." The article Street Math In Wildstyle Graffiti Art is a good introduction to this claim, while also providing a good summary of other aspects of street math itself.

Read the article as you might learn something about the students at-risk in your own classroom. Plus, the key mathematical ideas seem to be:

  • pattern creation and deciphering
  • tools and practices of measurement and proportional translation
  • spacial visualization
  • symmetrical and geometrical design
  • reasoning
  • precise, consistent, and coherent application of pattern
However, a dilemma arises. If you mention such graffiti in a classroom, are you not condoning it....and perhaps even encouraging it? I do not know a good response to that query.

If you want something tamer and some clever mathematical graffiti, then consider this poster available from Carolina for about $13.