#MathArtChallenge 76: Decagon & Pride Flag

Here is my first attempt at a more thoughtful #mathartchallenge. Pushback, thoughts, additions you’d like to see all welcome. You can comment below, or here, or talk to/DM me on twitter.

June is Pride month. I try to always acknowledge and honor that in my classroom. Last year, I put up this display in my classroom window:

This year, it made sense to create a rainbow #mathartchallenge to post for my kids to see. Having seen pride flags with Black and Brown stripes, noting it as a nod to a more inclusive pride, I picked a decagon design that I wasn’t totally sure how to create from Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands , and voila.

Except, of course, that I messed up. I didn’t do my research. ANY research. The original rainbow flag is 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. There are new designs that include Black and Brown stripes, and as of 2018, designed by Daniel Quasar, there is this flag:

Daniel Quasar flag

This flag includes not just the Black and Brown stripes, but also nods to the transgender pride flag. You can read about it here. 

I also want to speak the names of Tony McDade, a Black trans man killed by police, and Nina Pop, a Black trans woman killed in her apartment, both within the last few weeks. 

When I posted my ill-informed rainbow, I hadn’t necessarily planned it to be a #mathartchallenge. However, seeing the collaboration of Tina Cardone and Xi Yu, I think it makes for a good exercise. If you follow the tweet, you can see their solution – the tutorial Xi refers to is also here.

You may also notice they actually tagged their creation with “Queer #BlackLivesMatter”, which I failed to do.

Here is a better version.

MAC 75 Decagon pride flag

Better, I think because it honors (as best I could match) the actual colors of the pride flag, including those represented by the transgender flag. Not great yet, because as any decagon has 10 parts, I just ran out of space for all the colors (an 11 sided shape is rather challenging to construct). I would like to note that in the trans flag, the white color represents gender neutral or non-defined gender. Given the white paper, it seemed the easiest shade to not include. By no means do I mean to exclude gender neutral or non-defined gender people in this representation.

If you choose to participate in this #mathartchallenge, here are some questions I’d like you to reflect on:

  • The larger shape here is a decagon (10 sided shape). Where else do you see the theme of 10 appear here?
  • How many? What did you count and how did you count it?
  • What angles are represented here?
  • What shapes do you see that are not decagons?
  • How do the shapes interact with each other? What can you say about the relationships between them?
  • Can you find an 11 sided design that would better represent Daniel Quasar’s 11 color-flag?
  • How do symbols, like flags, interact with identity at large? With your personal identity? What thoughts about representation are present or missing here?

Author: Annie Perkins

Math Teacher in Minneapolis, MN.

One thought on “#MathArtChallenge 76: Decagon & Pride Flag”

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