Week 22: Tessellations – Paper Method

This week we will do tessellations that fit together through translation (moving without rotation). We will look at reflection and rotation in other weeks. There are a few different ways to do this, but we will use the paper method today. I always start the class by talking about what different kinds of shapes can tessellate (triangles, trapezoids, hexagons, rectangles, etc.). We look at the tessellations around us (bricks, floor tiles, fabrics, etc.)

If you have never made a tessellation before, the easiest way is to use a rectangle sheet of paper, with a pencil, scissors and tape. Here are the instructions:

  • Step 1: Sketch a curve that stretches from the bottom left to the bottom right corner of your rectangle
  • Step 2: Cut out your curve and move it to the opposite side of your rectangle. Tape it together as perfectly as you can.
  • Step 3: Sketch a curve from the top left of your rectangle to the bottom left.
  • Step 4: Cut out the curve on the left and then tape it to the opposite side (again as perfectly as you can).
  • Step 5: Trace your shape on a sheet of paper and add some fun details:

Week 21: Hexagon Tessellations

I love tessellating! This week we are playing with hexagons. Learners can either draw or cut various hexagonal designs with various colors. It is fun to see what secondary patterns can occur. Do other polygons tessellate?

This is a wonderful activity to practice mindfulness and presence as you play with these shapes. It is an opportune project for students to learn single pointed mindedness.

Use lots of colors – tissue paper is also fun. I didn’t post many pictures, because I don’t like to give all the patterns away – I really love the discovery that happens with this project. A paper cutter can come in handy here if you have a large class.

Here is a template to cut from. It is also a good time to break out protractors and comapasses and play with 120 degrees (the outer angle of a regular hexagon).

In our home, we have been playing with laser cut hexagons this week; and if you are a hobbyist with a laser and interested in a set, then I have SVG files here.