Art Classes: Level II

Level II-Lesson 8: Tessellations: Repeating a Pattern to Create Original Art

Learn to draw a pattern while using some simple mathematical concepts

The lesson is suitable for students in grade 3 through adult.


Art Lesson Description:

Ancient Romans liked to decorate their homes with mosaics—pictures made of small pieces of stone.  They called these pieces of stone tessera, the Latin word from which we get the word “tessellation,” meaning a repeated pattern. The lesson begins with a history of tessellations, and gets students hunting for tessellations in their own environment.

The art lesson itself has two parts. In the first part we learn what makes a "true" tessellation and use pentominoes to apply what we have learned. In the second part, swe alter the shape of a square and turn the new shape into a tessellation. It's an invitation to a lot of imagination and fun!

The lesson ends with pictures of Turkish architecture to show more examples of the uses of pattern.

This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 3 downloadable printouts: a pentomino printout, a pentomino grid, and a printout of 3" squares.


List of Supplies for Each Student:

Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:

Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:

  • Making a tessellation from triangles: 25 minutes
  • Using a design inside a square to create a tessellation: 35 minutes
  • Total time: 60 minutes


Altered Square
Altered Square
A Finished Tessellation
A Finished Tessellation

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