Educational Resources

Pattern-making activities for classroom use

With paper and pencil:
  1. Construct grids using compass and straight edge (ruler). Using colored pencils, make a design and repeat it within the grid.

  2. Using dot paper or graph paper, encourage students to make a design and then repeat it using only one basic symmetry. Then choose another of the four basic symmetry operations, and repeat it using the same design. Does it make a different pattern? Try this exercise using each of the four basic symmetries.

  3. Using graph paper and colored pencils, ask students to design their own carpets, taking into account symmetry, asymmetry, and symmetry-breaking.
With software:
  1. Try out a computer program for making tessellations.

  2. Experiment with rug patterns using Geometer's Sketchpad.
With other classroom tools:
  1. Make patterns with colored rubberbands on geoboards (peg boards).

  2. Make patterns using pattern attribute blocks of different colors. Try the same exercise with a mirror for reflection.

  3. Using three mirrors at right angles to one another, try the previous exercise again.

  4. Use cardboard or plastic cut-out shapes to make tessellations. Try alternating two colors and see what happens.

[Pattern-Making Activities] [Observing Symmetry] [Symmetry All Around]
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