Tessellations from Hawaii
Mrs. Cathi Sanders' geometry students at Punahou High School in Honolulu, Hawaii,
used The Geometer's Sketchpad to construct these tessellations.
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Tessellation Tutorial ||
"In a Rainbow Sea" by Maxine:
I constructed a tessellation using Geometer's Sketchpad. It looked
a bit like a fish, so I decided to use that theme for my project, and
worked on it a bit to make it look more "fish-like." I copied the line
drawing into SuperPaint, and played around with colors. I wanted to make
one fish stand out from all the others, so I made it a rainbow fish! By
contrast I made the other fish shades of red. Tessellations are really
interesting because all the pieces fit together so perfectly. I like
geometry because you can be really creative with it and make unique
"Birds of Paradise" by Megan:
I admired Escher's birds in many of his interesting drawings, so I
wanted to try a bird in my tessellation. I felt that my bird was very
simple compared to his, so I filled it with a rainbow of colors to create a
more beautiful graphic. It's amazing to me that starting with a simple
geometric shape, you can make such complex patterns. Now that we've
explored this, I see these patterns all over the place - in fabrics and in
plant forms, too. Nature is very geometric!
"Humuhumunukunukuapuaa" by Beth:
I decided to make fish in this project because they fit together
well. (Fish are rather symmetrical creatures.) The fish named
humuhumunukunukuapuaa is the Hawaiian state fish, and is often called "the
little fish with the big name" (it is a very small fish!). This fits my
picture, because although the one fish is small, it is important, and is
colored so brightly.
"Popoki" by Kathleen:
I didn't plan what I was going to make for my tessellation. I
just moved the points around until I saw something in the figure. It
turned out to be a cat, which was sort of cool because all my friends call
me Kat. This was an easier and faster way to make tessellations - in other
classes we had to draw them out by hand so it wasn't as much fun, and you
couldn't change them, either. With Sketchpad, you can change a tessellation
and make it be what you want.
"Tapa Design" by Will:
This tessellation was constructed in Geometer's Sketchpad and later
transferred into SuperPaint for coloring. Sketchpad is an excellent program
for the building of tessellations because you can continually change and
experiment with the shape of your original tessellation. My work was
inspired by our annual Holoku (Hula) Pageant, which is filled with an
abundance of patterns and colors.
Tapa is a cloth made by ancient Hawaiians from
plant fibers. The cloth is decorated with
geometric designs using plant dyes. Tapa
designs are almost always very geometric, and
display a number of symmetries.
Here is a sample tapa pattern:
"Hawaiian Petroglyphs" by Lauren:
This design was inspired by the ancient Hawaiian ki'i pohaku
(petroglyph). The gray and black shading was used to create a sense of
depth, as if carved in lava rock. Using Sketchpad I was able to transform a
simple square into a complex spiralled pattern.
Petroglyphs are Hawaiian rock carvings,
somewhat like cave paintings or hieroglyphics.
They are pictograms, and the patterns formed
are often geometric in nature.
Here is an example of some petroglyphs found on
the island of Maui: