Obaminoes is a large, pointillistic mural of President Barack H. Obama constructed out of 2,420 dominoes. Designed by the mathematician Robert Bosch, this installation is only the second of its kind in the world.
The mural was constructed by K – 5 students at Franklin Avenue Elementary School. After sorting the dominoes, the students worked in small groups to create individual sections of the mural consisting of the equivalent of 44 dominoes. These 55 individual sections were then mounted to torsion box panels to support the weight of the 100+ pound mural.
The students were directed by faculty and staff from Franklin Avenue Elementary School who worked in conjunction with students and faculty from Westfield State College. This collaborative effort is one component of the Westfield Professional Development Schools Network between the Westfield Public Schools and Westfield State College.
In addition to the many connections to curricular issues in Art and Current Events, the project provided many important connections to the Mathematics curriculum. These connections include: counting; sorting and classifying; measurement; coordinate geometry; symmetry; patterns, reasoning, and strategy in domino games. In addition, the design of photomosaics of this sort requires a mathematical algorithm known as linear programming – which has been called “the most important real world mathematics problem.” Essential to every major shipping, distribution, transportation, telecommunication, large retail, and production company, this tool’s importance cannot be understated. While any real application of this tool is beyond the scope of the elementary school curriculum, the students were able to begin to think about optimization problems of the sort that it helps solve and to learn about the real impact this tool has had.
|Julian F. Fleron, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics
Westfield State College
577 Western Ave.
Westfield MA 01086-1630
Franklin Avenue Elementary School
22 Franklin Ave.
Westfield MA 01085