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The Art of Math

Visual art is a part of our everyday lives and when educators use it as a way to teach math, history, geography and science many students can easily understand even the most complex of ideas. Art across the board is what makes learning fun.

This week, we focus on the Art of Math. There are a great many designs and patterns in art that have a firm footing in mathematics. No where is this more apparent than in the works of artist M.C. Escher. His creations involve geometric patterns which repeat to create incredible images.

One word used often in describing the work of M.C. Escher is tessellation. What's that? Well, to tessellate something means to form or arrange small squares in a checkerboard or mosaic pattern. However, tessellations involve many different shapes and patterns.

If you are interested in introducing the concept of tessellations in the classroom, there are a couple of really wonderful resources online. One such resource, the Math Tessellations page - has an animated gif which illustrates the concept in a very clear way. You will also find examples of tessellations courtesy of the Highland Middle School in Libertyville Illinois on the Math Tessellations page.

For hands-on lessons which can be used in the classroom, visit the Math Forum - Tessellations site where you will find out everything you need to know about this mathematical art activity.
Pages within the Math Forum - Tessellations site which are of particular use include:

Repeated Reflections of an R
Creating Tessellations Using a Straightedge and a Compass
Using Activity Pattern Blocks

Each page features step-by-step instructions for students grades 5 and up.

Finally ... another super site well worth a visit is Hop's Escher Tiles.

Don't Miss:

© Andrea Mulder-Slater

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