About This Project

About This Project ||  What is a Tessellation? ||  Tessellation Tutorials ||  Tessellation Links

Tessellations have intrigued me since I began teaching 9th grade mathematics in 1990, as a topic that attracts the attention of a wide range of students. Tessellations are easily found everywhere in homes, from common kitchen floors to elaborate, decorative tile work. There is something very satisfying in finding that the pieces all fit neatly together!

The tessellation tutorial pages began as a lesson using HyperCard. HyperCard is the tool I used to introduce my students to the Macintosh. One of the lessons I have developed involves teaching them how to tessellate using HyperCard's paint tools. If you have HyperCard on a Macintosh computer but are without HyperCard experience, you may want to refer to HyperCard Tessellation Tips.

The next step was to expand to include color, which meant developing directions using HyperStudio. Although I used HyperCard with my students because of equipment limitations, students find it very inviting to tessellate in color. The last addition to the computer paint-generated tessellations was a set of directions using Claris Works. So many Macintosh computers are sold with Claris Works included that I was excited about adding directions that would allow many more people to tessellate in color.

In September of 1997, Brian Metcalfe, Editor - Bits and Bytes, contacted me asking if I would mind if he adapted the directions for tessellating to use with IBM compatible machines. Now there is a link to directions for PC Paintbrush which were written by Brian and this idea can easily be used by PC users who have that program available to them.

LogoWriter, a specific software package, is an excellent tool to use in teaching students mathematical concepts because it is based on lines and angles. In my experiences with students, LogoWriter has been particularly useful because the students write in the LOGO language and then receive immediate feedback when they try their program. If mistakes have been made the screen will read, "I don't know how to." Student quickly realize that to get a graphic result they must return to the programming side and edit the program.

Tessellations do not necessarily need to be taught using a program on a computer. In fact, a rich approach to this topic would include a variety of materials, including templates, activity pattern blocks, straightedge/compass constructions and/or computer programs. I particularly enjoy using the straightedge/compass constructions because they are a wonderful way to transition from two to three dimensions.

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