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October 2, 2020 | Clara Buckley
What is a tessellation? An arrangement of shapes that fit together with no gaps or overlaps.
What shapes tessellate? Squares, hexagons, triangles, and more.
Where do we see tessellations every day? Brick walls, tile floors, honeycombs, mosaics.
First we drew shapes we believed would tessellate such as squares, diamonds and hexagons. We noted what the shapes had in common. Some shapes, like triangles, had to be flipped to fit together.
Our next step was to create a unique tessellation shape. These are irregular shapes that still tessellate, fit together with no gaps or overlaps. Our work is inspired by that of M. C. Escher, a Dutch artist famous for his impossible constructions and transformation prints. Escher’s Day and Night, 1938 print is below.
Students watched a demonstration of the translation (slide) technique in class. They then had access to written, photographic, and video directions on the technique on Google Classroom. Each child can go at their own pace, pause or review when needed, to reach the same goal, a tessellation that fits together with no gaps or overlaps.
The students are working with math concepts like shape, pattern, and geometry. The magic part of the project is when each child discovers that their shape actually tessellates!