Monday, May 3, 2010


Tessellation is just a fancy math word for tiling or a repeating pattern. Simple tessellations are all around us: bathroom tile, a brick wall, a honey cone. Simple tessellations are easy and fun to find and make!

But you can have your little one exercise their math muscles by creating their own complex tessellation.

For A Simple Tessellation:

What You Need: a piece of paper, a small simple shape (Triangle, Rectangle, Square or Hexagon) crayons or markers.

What To Do: Trace the simple shape over and over again until it covers the piece of paper. The let kids color to create patterns.

For A Complex Tessellation:

What You Need: A piece of paper, a second piece of paper cut into a small square, a scissor, a pencil, tape, crayons or markers.

What to Do: Have your child draw along one edge of the small square. Carefully cut along line and tape the cut out to the opposite end of the square. (i.e. draw and cut out a triangle along the bottom edge, then tape the triangle to the top so that you have what looks like a house with a large triangle door.) The objective is to be able to fit the square like a puzzle piece into itself over and over again. You can repeat this with the other straight edges of the square.

Then help your child trace the new shape over and over until you've tiled the entire piece of paper. Once the paper is tiled completely, then let your child color in the tiles any way they choose. With patterns or randomly.

-Estimate then count how many shapes it will take to cover the piece of paper.
-Guess then test how many different colors you would have to use to color the entire tessellation without letting tiles of the same color touch.

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