We started this unit using the shapes in Word. The students chose 3 shapes which they then grouped, copied and flipped. The resulting shapes were then grouped again to create a pattern that could be tiled down the document. Students were able to print these out and laminate them and use them as bookmarks. Back in class they were able to show the lines of reflective symmetry.
We then went on to explore rotational symmetry. We used Kidspiration for this and the students made their patterns using the shapes and then coloured them in to show the pattern. Again, the students were asked how many degrees their shapes would have to be rotated to look the same.
Students are now moving onto the concept of tessellations. We are looking at tiling patterns, Islamic art and the work of M.C. Escher. They are going to investigate which shapes will tessellate and which will not. They are going to have a go at making their own tessellations out of paper and on the computer.
We also decided to take cameras out around school to see if we can find examples of real-life tessellations, for example in the brickwork.
Finally I'm hoping to introduce a bit of programming - I would like the students to be able to use Logo to programme an onscreen turtle to draw repeating patterns which can then be coloured in. I'm excited to see how these very different subjects can all be brought together to create real and authentic learning experiences for our students.
Artwork by Eleanor and Elodie in Grade 5