Mathematical Art

So what do you do when you arrive in your classroom 15 minutes before the start of afternoon school, after being out all morning , to discover that your PE lesson has been cancelled, it’s raining so you can’t go outside and you have absolutely nothing planned?

Panic obviously! Not helped by the fact that it was indoor play and the children kept wanting to come and talk to me and show me pictures of their new guinea pigs etc. And I hadn’t had any lunch!

Escher tesselations obviously. No preparation necessary apart from a supply of paper and some card. This was partly an activity that I have done several times before but modified/improved after our last session at NTU.

I by putting on this youtube video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njp6yexWbfw and just let them watch it while I cut card into small rectangle pieces. Then we watched it again together because I love the soundtrack.  This time they looked more closely at how the tesselations were created and tried to see if they could spot the base shape. They had done some tesselations previously of complex shapes such as Christmas trees etc last term so the idea wasn’t new to them.

The lesson was interrupted by the head teacher who wanted to dicuss Bittersweet Symphony as it is one of his all time favourite tracks so we watched all again. They loved looking at all the different images and kept finding new things to talk about.

Then I displayed the lesson notes from Primary Resources
http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/art/docs/Making_Escher_Patterns.doc

This gives the children a very basic idea of how to create an interesting tesselation from a basic rectangle. I demonstrated one to show them how easy it could be and then let them get on with it.

35 year 5 children who varied from being statemented to very able, all dived in and worked without any fuss. The biggest problem in the whole session was only having one roll of sellotape between everybody.

Their tesselations were varied, some were very complex and created really interesting patterns. Others were very simple but just looked really effective. Everychild completed a tesselation pattern of their own shape. Then they had the fun of turning them into fish, monsters or whatever. None of the patterns is finished but we will display them on the class blog when they are done. Their first question was “Can we put them on the blog”.  They love the fact that their work has a wider audience now.

I will pursue this by looking at how shapes tesselate in more detail and link with work on angles. I also want to see what other shapes they could use to create other patterns. Lots of investigative work to come.

I have lots to reflect about MaST at the moment and also things that I have read recently. I will catch up on posting when life gets a little less hectic and I’m not doing the Lambeth Walk everynight.

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One thought on “Mathematical Art

  1. classprof

    Great to read of this successful lesson which had to be developed in a couple of minutes – the sign of an experienced, creative teacher. I love the video, which I hadn’t seen before.

    I’ll look out for the students’ tessellations – love to see creativity joined to math learning.

    Thanks for sharing!

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