Tessellations
By

Leticia Rodriguez

As I searched the Internet for educational strategies on Tessellations to meet the Chicago Academic Standards  in my First Grade I was dismayed to find strategies only for the 3rd - 12th grades. Since tessellations are very useful in stimulating the potential of Critical Thinking Skills, Higher Order Thinking Skills, and Creative Thinking I decided to incorporate them in my lessons.  Within the 3rd - 12th grades tessellations are used as tools of Application of specific academic standards.  But in First Grade I am using Tessellations as tools of investigation and exploration within three subjects:  Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.  Tessellations provide a good foundation for students who will eventually be getting into 3rd -12th grades.  Tessellations in my first grade Classroom have had four main objectives within Language Arts, Mathematics and Science:  Listening, Speaking, Being a  Mathematician, and Being a Scientist who uses The Scientific Method.

The following activities were created with the intention of measuring up to the First Grade Level Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks.  In addition, my instructional plans also compliment our terrific Math Program:  Everyday Mathematics from the University of Chicago, Chicago Lab Program.  It is not a modern, contemporary, non-traditional Program.  Today, in the year 2002, the traditional (pencil & paper, memorizing and drilling) is now considered to be a part of the homework routine.  Teachers please communicate with your parents about the changes math has gone through. Otherwise they will be trapped in the traditional way of doing math , and math is constantly changing.  The six examples below are from Tessellation Teaching Masters by Dale Seymour.

Tessellations are scientific, my First Graders became scientists using the scientific  method.  In doing so we did some:

(Please note that the #s listed  refer to the actual Tessellation patterns below)

Observing    What do you see in #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 below?  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11B2)

Estimating    How many shapes do you think there are in #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6?  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11B6)

Collecting Data    Discover what fractions are through coloring patterns.  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11B4)

Predicting     By choosing your own colors you can create your own design.  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11B1)

Classifying    What kinds of shapes are present in #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6?  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11B3)

Investigating    #1:  Color 1 part out of 12 one color.  Color 11 parts out of 12 another color.  Color 2 parts out of 6 one color.  Color 4 parts out of 6 another color.  #2:  Color 1 part out of 3 one color.  Color 2 parts out of 3 another color.  #3:  Color 6 parts out of 12 one color.  Color 6 parts out of 12 another color.  Color the rest of the blank shapes one color.  #4:  Color squares one color.  Color triangles another color.  Color hexagon another color.  #5:  Color squares one color.  Color triangles another.  #6:  Color hexagon one color.  Color squares another color.  Color triangles another color.  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11A1)

Comparing and Contrasting    what is the difference between #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6?  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks: 11A2, 11B7)

Problem -Solving    Be sure to color in the correct parts as designated above.  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11A2)

Inferring    Create your own design as you color in the above designated parts.  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:    11B1, 11B6)

Drawing Conclusions    What kind of design do you end up creating?  What parts did you color in; explain.  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  11B6)   as we colored in our tessellations

Tessellations are mathematical, my First Graders became mathematicians.  In doing so we:

(Please note that the #s listed  refer to the actual Tessellation patterns below)

Counted shapes within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (6A1)

Found patterns within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (8A1,2)

Sorted shapes within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (9B1-4)

Graphed colors within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (10A2)

Sequenced patterns within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (8A1,2)

Colored parts of a whole within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (6D1-3)

Discovered fractions within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (6B5)

Explored geometric shapes  within #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6  (Chicago Academic Standards & Frameworks:  (9B4)

as we colored in our tessellations.

 1 2 3 4 5 6

For a selection of other examples of tessellation patterns use the following book: Tessellation Teaching Masters by Dale Seymour. Then repeat the same instructions as above with the other patterns and as your reviewing the above mathematical and scientific concepts your students are creating different designs.  Its educational coloring that's fun !  I have also found that it is a great project to help hyperactive students begin to focus on mathematical concepts and scientific concepts.  My project helps make the abstract concepts First Graders need to cover more concrete.  First Graders need a lot of concrete experiences with concepts so that they can have a foundation from which to build on in other grade levels.

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