Happy Monday Friends!
It has a pretty simple meaning: A pattern made with polygons (a shape with three or more sides) that completely fills a space with no gaps, spaces or overlaps. Tessellations are all around us, like in floor tile and artwork. Check out this drawing by artist M.C. Escher. What do you notice about it? This Dutch artist is known for creating unusual views of everyday objects and settings, and for his use of tessellations.
Escher’s works draw interest from many different people, such as art lovers, mathematicians and even psychologists. His repeating patterns illustrate a mathematical idea called tessellation. Remember that cool word? This artist used patterns of shapes that cover an area so that there are no gaps and no overlaps. Psychologists--doctors who study the mind and how we think--are interested in his drawings because the illusions in the works help them study how humans perceive, or view, the world.
Let's make our own tessellation's!
• Index card 3" x 5"
• Blank paper
• Transparent tape
• Colored markers or pens
Cut an index card in half, creating a 2.5" x 3" rectangle.
Find the area of the rectangle (length x width) (2.5 x 3)
Draw a line between two corners on one of the long sides of the rectangle. Your line can be squiggly or straight but it has to connect two corners that share one side of the rectangle.
Lay your shape anywhere on your clean paper. Carefully trace around it using a pencil (you can go back over it with a marker later). Pick up your shape and make it fit with the shape you traced like a puzzle. Can you figure out where to place the pattern so that your paper will be covered with repetitions of this shape with no overlaps and no gaps?
Try to cover your whole sheet of paper by tracing the pattern, moving it, then tracing it again. If you start with side A facing up do you ever have to turn it over to side B to make your tessellation? If you only have to slide the piece without flipping it over or rotating it, then you are making a translation tessellation. In math, translation means shifting the position of a shape without moving it in any other way.
f you want to flip your shape from side A to side B each time you trace it, it will look like a mirror image of the original shape. A tessellation made with this technique is called a reflection tessellation.
Time to add a design to your shapes. What do they look like? Could they be birds? Fish? Add some details and colors to your art work! Can you think of two colors that you can use in an alternating pattern?