Using Templates to Tessellate

Student Samples from Fairland Elementary School

Using a template to tessellate makes tessellating accessible to all. The students can use a variety of templates.
1. Plastic templates - available from catalogs [i.e. Dale Seymour]
2. Construction paper - student made
4. One or more of the Activity Pattern Blocks

Students using plastic templates to create tessellations.

Objectives: [NCTM Standards Grades 6-8: Geometry, Problem Solving and Reasoning and Proof]

1. To select a shape to see how it will form a pattern in the plane.

2. To trace the selected shape to make a pattern in the plane.

3. To consider flipping (reflecting) and turning (rotating) the shape so that there are no gaps in the pattern.

4. To consider which of these patterns are tessellations and which are not using the definition that a tessellation is a tiling with shapes that cover the plane without gaps or overlaps.

5. To consider which of these patterns are regular tessellations and which are not using the definition that a regular tessellation is a tiling with shapes that cover the plane in a regularly repeating pattern without gaps or overlaps.

Materials:

1. Template
2. Paper
3. Pencil/Eraser
4. Colored pencils or markers

Procedure:

1. Instruct the students to select a shape from the template, set it on the paper, and trace around the shape.
2. Demonstrate how a tessellation can be created by rotating the shape around a given point.
3. Demonstrate what happens when the shape is flipped (reflected).
4. Challenge the students to use one or more shapes from the template to cover the plane without gaps or overlaps.
5. Optional: Color the tessellations.

Evaluation:

Students should evaluate their own work, deciding whether their picture is a design or a tessellation by referring to the definition of a tessellation:

a tiling with shapes that cover the plane without gaps or overlaps.