An idea for the classroom - design a tile
What a treat for the New Year! This delightful page on the Victoria and Albert Museum website allows you to design your own tile and tessellate that design in blocks of 2 x 2, 4 x 4 or 6 x 6. The tool also allows you to rotate and reflect the tile to get different effects in the tessellation – what fun!
There is no need for me to go into any great detail here as the tool is very user friendly.
So how would I use this in the classroom?
If pupils have access to ICT it would be a great project to allow pupils to design their own tile and tessellate it. I would encourage them to capture the different tessellation possibilities by cutting and pasting into a Word document and writing about the one they like best using some technical mathematical language such as rotation, reflection and translation. They do not need to print out their account but can email it to their teacher for comments. They also have the possibility of posting their tile to the website gallery, but you could also set up a page on Flickr or on your school VLE for pupils to share their designs.
As part of some work on transformations, I would show pupils a tile tessellation and ask them to describe the tessellation in their own words. I would then enrich this experience by showing two different tessellations of the same tile and asking pupils to compare and contrast the designs, perhaps asking them to list what is the same and what is different about the designs.
This is a great vehicle for some display work either in the mathematics area or as a whole school display – using the tool gives the finished design a ‘professional’ feel.
Last year, I used a similar tool for each pupil to produce a colour design which was stuck onto the front of their exercise book, covered with a square of sticky-backed plastic – the exercise books had a personal quality that was not generated by graffiti!
Why not tell us how you have used the tool?