Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tessellation Art

Today is my last day at the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show before making the long drive home. It's been an incredible week. I'll be blogging all about it once I'm back home and settled, with a proper keyboard and a decent internet connection. In the meantime, here's a fun craft tutorial that I prepared ahead of time. It's one of my favorites from my teaching days.

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Are you familiar with tessellations? One of my favorite projects to do with my fifth grade students back in my teaching days was to create tessellation art. Trevor's in fourth grade now, so it was time to share this fun project with him. 

For those who don't know, a tessellation is formed when a flat surface is completely filled in (no gaps or overlaps) with a repeating pattern. Think about tiled floors, countertops, showers, etc. Most of the tessellations we see in homes are squares or rectangles, but tessellations can be made with many shapes. Curved shapes (like circles or ovals) will not tessellate, because there will be gaps or overlaps when you try to tile them. But you can create tessellating shapes that contain curved areas if you follow a trick. As you can see, Trevor's completed tessellation art has curved areas in it.


To make your own tesselation art, you need: an index card, scissors, tape, a pen, white paper, and crayons or markers. 

The secret to making a shape that tessellates is to start with a shape that tessellates and alter it. An index card is perfect. It is a rectangle (which tessellates), so when you cut and tape it correctly, you'll create a shape that tessellates. Begin by cutting a shape from the right of the index card. Curved shapes are fine. Keeping the cut piece in exactly the same orientation as it was when you cut it, slide it to the left of the index card and tape it in place. Then cut a different shape from the top of the index card. Keep the cut piece in exactly the same orientation and slide it to the bottom of the index card and tape it in place. Stop now or keep going. Two cuts are enough to create a really cool tessellation, but more can be fun.

 


I created a very simple tessellation. You should be able to see that I cut a large triangle from the right of the card, slid it to the left, then cut a smaller triangle from the bottom and slid it up. 


When you are happy with your shape, put it on the white paper and trace it. Then slide it over so there are no gaps or overlaps, then trace it again. Keep going until the entire page is full.


When the paper is full, it's time to color. Trevor colored his tessellation in exactly the same orientation as he created it. I rotated mine to see if one direction reminded me of something that the others didn't. Sure enough, when I turned the paper 90° clockwise, I saw faces with big noses.



Here's my finished artwork, complete with googly eyes:
No clue why Santa is clean-cut. Or yelling. Or so pale.

Give it a try! Math + art = fun.

2 comments:

  1. Both are definitely fun but yours has me smiling big time! Love how you gave each one a different face!

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  2. Ohhhhhhhhh these are fun! LOVING yours and Trevor's creations!! And hope you are home safe and sound!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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