Using art to teach maths * Using maths to create art

Tessellation

 At the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain An example of a tessellation by Escher. See larger images here.

Continue the pattern...

Have a look at some more geometric designs

-Try to recreate these using 1cm squared paper as a guide.

However, it is easy for pupils to create their own tessellation from scratch using card and scissors.

Step 1 Cut out accurately a square or rectangle from thin card.

Step 2 Draw a line from the top edge to the bottom edge. It can be as wiggly as you like. Cut along the line and move the left hand piece to the right hand side. Position the pieces together precisely and stick together with sticky tape.

Step 3 Now draw a wiggly line from left to right. Cut along this line and move the top piece to the bottom, again lining up the pieces of card very precisely.

Step 4 Use this final shape as a template, drawing around it very carefully, each time lining up the shape precisely before drawing the next outline. You should be able to cover a sheet of paper without leaving any gaps!

This technique can also be used to create colourful tessellations using Microsoft Paint -there are full instructions here with clear diagrams.

Image created in MS Paint

Tilings

Consider extending work on this topic to include an investigation of tilings. A tiling is a pattern using more than one polygon which can be repeated infinitely to completely cover the surface with no gaps.

Pupils whose learning style is predominantly kinaesthetic may prefer to work with activity blocks to create different tilings.

M.C. Escher

More tessellations by Escher (Look at the 'Symmetry' section.)