2011 MacKinnon Middle School N. Van Houten
Subject Area: Math
Duration: 2 class periods
Topic and Core Standard: Tessellations/4.2.4.B.1, 4.2.8.A.3, 4.2.12.B.3
Use simple shapes to cover an area
Which polygons can be used alone to generate a tessellation and why
Determine whether two or more given shapes can be used to generate a tessellation.
Concept: Identify and create tessellations culminating in a group project.
Essential Question: How does a shape tessellate?
Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes:
A. Students will identify tessellating shapes.
B. Students will relate Geometry principles with tessellations.
C. Students will associate tessellation with the artist M. C. Escher.
D. Students will create a tessellation from their photograph and assemble into a group
E. Students will create a tessellation from an equilateral triangle and create a piece of
Digital cameras, computers, color laser printer, photo editing software, SMART Board,
PowerPoint Presentation, ruler, protractor, paper, pencil, cardboard, paint, construction paper,
Today we are going to do an art to math cross over project referring to M.C. Escher’s work on
tessellations. Your finished projects will be hung in the main hallway to the middle school with
the final 6th – 8th grade group tessellation project (featuring pictures of each student in
MacKinnon) in the form of a medieval castle. The 6th grade will form the castle and the 7th
grade the mote and the 8th grade the dragon and fire.
This lesson will be spread out over the course of several weeks given the scale of the
objective and the amounts of prep work involved in its successful completion.
Day 1 – Introduction
Step 1: Introduce Tessellations with PowerPoint on M.C. Escher
Step 2: Give brief abstract on final product. (optional)
Step 3: Discuss math principles and vocabulary related with Tessellations.
Step 4: SMART Board activity creating tessellations with manipulatives.
Step 5: Tessellation Activity – Teacher will go through step by step instructions on
creating a tessellation. Students will start the activity during this class and have the
opportunity to color their finished piece when they have time the next several days in
Math class. Students can refer to an instructional video as an aide to those who need
additional help - let them know they can access the video from the class computer.
Step 6: Individual finished tessellations will be mounted to black construction paper to
be hung during Medieval Fair.
Day 2 - Photography
Step 1: Photograph every student posed as if they were trying to break out of a box.
Step 2: Students will continue class work while they are not being photographed.
Make any necessary arrangements to photograph students who may be absent that day.
*After photography has been taken it will be necessary to tint them as per the final
design using photo editing software. The photos will be cropped as deemed necessary
and printed in color.
A Tessellation template will need to be prepared beforehand. Three shapes which easily
tessellate will be prepared and a single shape will be assigned to each grade. Given the
medieval theme of the end product, 6th grade, for example, could be a brick shape, 7th
could be hexagonal, and 8th could be a diamond.
Day 3 – Creating Tessellations from Photographs
Step 1: Reinforce principles from first day.
Step 2: Pass out photographs, scissors, and tessellation template.
Step 3: Students will cut out template.
Step 4: Students will place the template over their photograph in an interesting manner.
Step 5: Trace tessellation on the photograph.
Step 6: Cut the photograph out.
Step 7: Clean up and collect material.
Day 4 – Construction
After having visited every math class in 6th – 8th grade, compile tessellated photographs
and sort by grade level. After having counted a total number of shapes, create a scale
model and/or blueprint of final object.
Step 1: With permission and input from classroom teachers select several students for
Step 2: Meet with the students and go over final objective for building with the
Step 3: Begin construction on final tessellations using the photographs.
Construction will take 5 – 6 meetings depending upon variables including drying time for
paint and total time allotment.
Students will create tessellations and fill out Regular Polygon Tessellations data Table
after teacher lead instruction.