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How To Create Tessellations

Creating Tessellations

A tessellation is a kind of mathematical shape that is carefully juxtaposed in a particular pattern. In the art of M. C. Escher, there are lots of examples of tessellations. For children, tessellations serve as a tool for entertainment as well as education. Examples of tessellations can be found in ancient architecture and decorative designs as well. In tessellations, a specific mathematical shape is repeated over and over again. The shape, the colors, and the repeating patterns make tessellations very attractive to children. Tessellations are a perfect example of the marriage of art and mathematics.

Tessellations can be created either on the computer or with a few materials. Microsoft PowerPoint is generally used to create tessellations on the computer, while craft tessellations can be created with the following materials:

  • A protractor
  • A graph paper
  • Tracing paper
  • A ruler
  • Crayons or coloring pencils

Creating a tessellation in a stepwise manner can be very fascinating and educating for young children. It predominantly involves two activities, namely, tracing and coloring, which will eventually create shapes and designs that are very attractive. There are only a few steps required for creating a tessellation, and they are as follows:

1. The first step involves putting the tracing paper over the graph paper. Then, the lower edges and the upper edges of a ruler are used to draw parallel lines on the paper. For drawing lines at a 90° angle, a protractor can be used. After drawing the lines on the paper, the pieces need to be cut out.

2. The translation pattern is the simplest type of tessellation. For creating a translation, each of those pieces needs to be shifted to its opposite side. After that, the edges of each piece have to be taped together. This will result in a new shape.

3. The tile now needs to be traced on a piece of paper that is at least four times larger than the tile. An even larger paper can be used if more repetitions are required. A grid can also be drawn to serve as a guideline, and then, it can be erased after the project is completed.

4. The tile needs to be slid to the left for tracing, and then, moved above for more tracing. They are supposed to interlock if the steps are done correctly. Now, repeat it for the left and below, and continue tracing until the entire page is filled.

5. After the tessellation is created, proceed to color the grids. Make sure to use two or more colors, as this will make the tessellation come to life.

Besides simple shapes, tessellations can also be used to make designs that resemble animals, birds, fish, or certain objects. A whole page can be filled up by creating tessellation designs, and it will look something like a jigsaw puzzle. Tessellations are not only fun to create; they will help to teach children a few basic concepts of mathematics as well.