Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
February 10, 2010

Transformations, Tessellations & Ceiling Tiles

By Stacey Burt


    Working with transformations in geometry can be tough, even for the most precocious mathematical mind. Many times spatial reasoning is not the forte of every student. To reinforce the concept of transformations with geometric shapes, I often conduct a mini unit on tessellations.


    By investigating M.C. Escher’s tessellations, students are able understand the concepts of translation, reflection, and rotation a bit better. Escher’s tessellations are quite beautiful and intriguing to examine, therefore student interest is very high.


    After perusing Escher’s work, I invite my students to create their own tessellation. The initial design is created on graph paper. Students are instructed to use color and even a template if necessary. The designs range from very simplistic (basic regular polygons) to the extremely abstract (yin and yang type birds). Once I have approved their design as a tessellation, students are given a ceiling tile on which to reproduce their work of art. I purchase new tiles from a home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot very cheaply and distribute them to the students…they understand they may only have one. The tiles are very fragile, so I recommend giving the students plenty of space to spread out.


    I realize that this may not be an option in all classrooms or schools; however, once the tiles are placed in the ceiling, the result is stunning. I have students that come back from year to year just to make sure that their tile is still on display. Of course you will want the students to sign their work in a location where is can be seen by all (like any good artist).

    Fusing math and art…nothing like it!

    Cheers-

    Stacey


    Working with transformations in geometry can be tough, even for the most precocious mathematical mind. Many times spatial reasoning is not the forte of every student. To reinforce the concept of transformations with geometric shapes, I often conduct a mini unit on tessellations.


    By investigating M.C. Escher’s tessellations, students are able understand the concepts of translation, reflection, and rotation a bit better. Escher’s tessellations are quite beautiful and intriguing to examine, therefore student interest is very high.


    After perusing Escher’s work, I invite my students to create their own tessellation. The initial design is created on graph paper. Students are instructed to use color and even a template if necessary. The designs range from very simplistic (basic regular polygons) to the extremely abstract (yin and yang type birds). Once I have approved their design as a tessellation, students are given a ceiling tile on which to reproduce their work of art. I purchase new tiles from a home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot very cheaply and distribute them to the students…they understand they may only have one. The tiles are very fragile, so I recommend giving the students plenty of space to spread out.


    I realize that this may not be an option in all classrooms or schools; however, once the tiles are placed in the ceiling, the result is stunning. I have students that come back from year to year just to make sure that their tile is still on display. Of course you will want the students to sign their work in a location where is can be seen by all (like any good artist).

    Fusing math and art…nothing like it!

    Cheers-

    Stacey

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Stacey's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
"Unboxing" Creative Potential: An Activity for Digital Natives

Grab the attention of digital natives by speaking their language. Explore ways to reach these students by creating "unboxing" videos to introduce a topic or check for understanding across all content areas. 

By Stacey Burt
October 18, 2016
Blog Post
The Power of Interest and Independent Study

Scholastic Printables has a great, free Student Interest Survey. It provides insight into my learners, gives me instant conversation starters, and drives my planning. Read on for tips for using student high interest topics to fuel independent study.

By Stacey Burt
October 5, 2016
Blog Post
The Big Send-Off — Lessons Beyond the Classroom
For many of you, what your students do outside of your classroom may also cross your mind. You follow their successes and sometimes their disasters. You celebrate and mourn with them over decisions they make that mold the young people they are becoming. This year, however, I was deeply impacted by what one of my students taught me. Read on to learn about this remarkable girl.
By Stacey Burt
May 18, 2012
Blog Post
State Test Prep, "Pi Games"-Style

Survey any 6th grade class in the nation and I am positive they will all agree that The Hunger Games series is awesome. This title has so affected my students that when the final rounds of classroom test prepping came up, we decided to create an event that would include both 5th and 6th grades in high-interest math review, and voila, the first annual Pi Games were born.

By Stacey Burt
May 4, 2012
Blog Post
Discover Socrative — The Free Student Response System
Student response systems have been making a big splash in classrooms around the nation for a while. As you know, they provide teachers instant feedback on learning gains and student retention of material. However, the price can be a bit discouraging. Make way for the app Socrative. It is a FREE application that allows educators to create quizzes for use not only with laptops, but also smart phones and tablets.
By Stacey Burt
April 20, 2012

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us