Kearsarge High Educator Creates Quilt Using Student Pictures Designed by Mathematical Equations 

Kearsarge Regional School District
Superintendent Winfried Feneberg
114 Cougar Court
New London, NH 03257

For Immediate Release

Friday, Feb. 15, 2019

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Kearsarge High Educator Creates Quilt Using Student Pictures Designed by Mathematical Equations 

A class of 22 Kearsarge Regional High School Honors Algebra II students created pictures using equations this winter. Math teacher Sally Lyford, with help from several other Kearsarge educators, created a quilt using their images. (Courtesy Photo Kearsarge Regional School District)

NEW LONDON – Visitors to Kearsarge Regional High School math teacher Sally Lyford’s classroom may notice a large quilt that depicts various pictures of people, animals, and nature.

Lyford, with the help of Kearsarge High french teacher Kristen Allen, business teacher Jesse Fenn, and technology teacher Chris Spooner, put together and hung a quilt this winter that showcases pictures made by her Honors Algebra II students using mathematical equations.

It’s the first year Lyford has made a quilt to display the images her students made by using a graphing calculator on desmos.com. She began assigning students a project to create images using equations during the 2014 to 2015 school year.

At the time, Lyford was looking for a way to test her Honors Algebra II students’ knowledge without giving them a traditional “pen and paper” test. After learning about desmos.com, she was inspired to create a project that would combine what her students knew about transformations of functions with their sense of creativity. Since then, Lyford has had her students complete an annual project where they create pictures of their choice.

“There has been a push in education to have students show what they know through a performance based assessment,” Lyford said. “This definitely fits that description, and it gives students a more creative outlet as well. They also have a chance to see how these equations can be used in more of a real life application.”

Each student spends between three and 10 hours on their picture, depending on how intricate they decide they’d like their design to be. This year, 22 students participated in the project. Most of the students are sophomores, and a few are freshmen.

Many students, inspired by the New Hampshire landscape, chose to make pictures of mountains this year. Lyford said the project sometimes pushes students to learn more complex equations as well, for example to create a circle.

“Whatever comes to their mind, what they are interested in, prompts them as they come up with a picture of their choice, and sometimes they ask me for equations beyond those we’ve learned so far,” Lyford said.

Lyford said her students have enjoyed locating the pictures they created on the quilt, and that the overall project allowed them to explore what various equations can generate on a graph.

“They’re pretty excited about it because they get to see what they’ve been learning about, the transformations of functions, and what it will appear as on the graph,” Lyford said. “And how it makes the picture. They enjoy the fact that on desmos.com they can play around with equations and there’s no penalty. They can make what they want to happen appear right before their eyes.”

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