AlgNet/GeoNet: A Union City School District Summer Enrichment Program
Using technology not simply to do things better, but to do better things.


A Frieze or "Strip" pattern extends infinitely in one dimension, and is contained between a pair of parallel boundary lines.

There are only seven distinct classes of frieze patterns. The basis for the classification is the presence or not of vertical mirrors, a horizontal mirror, a glide reflection or a half-turn.

Given a guide that illustrates the seven frieze patterns with letters, we will work in small groups to investigate these patterns.

  1. For this first part of the exploration with friezes, we will ignore the Basic Rules. Use two blocks to create a simple asymmetrical shape. Use copies of this shape to illustrate an example of each type of frieze pattern. Identify the locations of mirrors and centers. Note how moving these elements of the pattern changes the location of the image(s).
  2. A more difficult task is to create strip patterns with the blocks that DO obey the Basic Rules. Work to create at least one example of each of the seven types of frieze patterns. Why might some be more difficult than others to create?

Return to Purposeful Pattern Block Play
THE MATH FORUM: Creating community, developing resources, constructing knowledge...