Education Technology

Tesselations

Published on 10/17/2008

Activity Overview

In this activity students will explore what causes some regular polygons to tesselate. They will explore sketches of regular polygons, measure the interior angles, and test to see whether the shapes tesselate.

Before the Activity

Prior to beginning the activity, students should know what a regular polygon is. It would probably make the conjecturing portion of the activity easier if student knew how to compute the interior angle of a regular polygon with the formula [(n-2)*180]/n. Refer to the screenshots on pages 5-6 for a preview of the student TI-Nspire document (.tns file).

During the Activity

This activity is intended to be a student exploration. The teacher should plan to launch the activity with a something to get kids to begin to wonder which regular polygons will tesselate. This could be done in various ways such as asking kids to wonder why bees use hexagons rather than octagons, ask what shapes of tiles would cover a bathroom floor with no gaps or overlaps. Next, students will have a period of approximately 20-25 minutes of exploration. While students are working, it is expected that the teacher is walking around asking question such as what are you noticing about the various polygons?