Tessellations are defined as: “an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together, especially of polygons in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping.” *

Tessellations are a great culmination project for transformational geometry (slides=translations,  flips= reflection, turns=rotations).  This project included a good deal of measurement and calculation too!  Once you are aware of tessellations, you will start to see them everywhere- in tiles, patterns on clothes and blankets, in artist’s works etc.!  (That might be a good starting point- identifying tessellations in the environment.) .

Our kids are currently OBSESSED with Harry Potter and all things magical and we have been reading this engrossing book “Mossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook” so we decided that a magical carpet was the perfect way to explore the geometrical concept of tessellations.

Here is where you can purchase the book:

Americans:

*Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the book for review as I love so many books from: http://www.theinnovationpress.com/.  This is not a sponsored post and nor do we use affiliate links.*

## Materials

• Bristol board
• Pencil/eraser
• Cue/Index cards
• Ruler
• Paint/paint pens/markers
• Hole punch
• Yarn

We always find these items helpful too:

• Smock
• Craft tray

## Directions

• Observe tessellations in your environment.
• We started with a big-scale project and kept the design simple by only sliding the template.  Here is a video from What Do We Do All Day? that shows the basic idea of tessellations:

• We took our index card and made a simple design cutting from one side, sliding that cut piece to the opposite side and then taping it on, on the back.  You can do this with two sides if you would like to make your tessellation more complex.

• We then took a ruler (a metre stick would actually be the best for this) and found the centre point of our poster board measuring the width and length and dividing it by two.  We then drew a faint line.  We lined up our template with the centre line to the left or of the the vertical line, traced around it and then slid it to line up with the edge of the previous template.  As you can see the template that our son created looks like a cat in a way, so line up the ears with the previous template’s nose.  Continue to do this in both directions, sliding your template.  Create another line of your template right beside the other, sliding your template and tracing it.  We did this four times and then created a border with our ruler on the edges.

• Here’s an example in action after we painted it, so you could see the slide more clearly:

• Colour in your design- this is a good time to use colour to accent your pattern- think about how the order in which you colour each tile.  (We used paint and paint pens, but if I was doing this in the classroom I would use marker or tempera markers).  We then traced over the design with black permanent marker and black paint pen to make your design pop!
• To enhance that carpet feel we decided to add a simple weaving pattern at the two ends of the carpet (going in and out) and then made some tassels for the very ends.  (Cut some lengths, make a loop over your holes and then go up through the bottom and put it through the hole and pull it taut.) To make the finished product look crisp and organized we also measured the distance between the holes for weaving and looping the tassels.  (Sneaking in math all over the place!)

• To finish off the carpet we saved the holes that we punched out and glued them onto the tips of the design (where the cat nose would be!).

• Extension:  Write a small paragraph explaining how you made your carpet in your own words using math and including your measurements.  Articulating your process helps you teach others mathematical concepts and prepares you for explaining your thinking.

• Since it is still a bit snowy where we live, I can’t wait to climb on this carpet and go some place warm with the family!  Where would you go?!

## Purpose

• Understanding how to apply geometrical concepts.

## Safety Notes

• We suggest that you wear a smock to protect your clothing and surfaces,  depending on the type of materials that you use.
• Use scissors with care and adult supervision.
• Cord, yarn etc. can be a strangulation hazard, therefore be sure to use with direct supervision and for its intended purpose.