10 Ways to Celebrate World Tessellation Day

Guest post by Emily Grosvenor.

June 17 marks the first-ever World Tessellation Day, a holiday I created to bring awareness to the fun of finding and making tessellations.

Will you celebrate with us?

Here are 10 great ways to play with tessellations, learn about them, and introduce your children to a math concept that opens a variety of creative learning opportunities.

A tessellation is a tiled mosaic pattern of the same shape laid out over and over again, repeating into infinity. Tessellations can be found in nature, or they can be created by people. Learn more at these websites:

2) Look for tessellations in your everyday life.

Are you going to Staples or Target today? Check out the tessellating patterns in their shopping carts. Have you passed a chain link fence? Have you looked at your feet in a bathroom with a tiled floor?

3) Notice the tessellations in nature.

Have you ever found the hexagonal pattern in a beehive or noticed that mud seems to dry in a patterned way? That’s a tessellation, too. But why does nature like these patterns?

4) Explore an artist who works in tessellation.

One of the most famous was M.C. Escher, born on June 17, 1898. You can read more about M.C. Escher on his official website, and check out a gallery featuring several of his tessellations.

I love his tessellating lizards! Which of his pictures is your favorite?

“Lizard” by M.C. Escher. 1942.

5) Wear a tessellation.

Did you know that the houndstooth check weaving pattern is a tessellation? If you have any clothing with a repeating pattern, wear it today to flaunt your math savvy.

Here’s a houndstooth-checked tweed jacket, along with a close-up of the tessellating pattern and how to weave it:

Houndstooth jacket from Ali Express.

6) Play with a tessellating toy.

Christopher Danielson of TalkingMathwithKids.com has created a fun Tiling Turtles toy you can use to play with tessellations. You can also play checkers (a square tessellation) or create a tessellation with LEGO bricks or other building blocks.

Tiling turtles designed by Jos Leys and adapted for the laser cutter by Kevin Lee using his TesselManiac software.

7) Enjoy these free Tessalation! coloring pages.

You can find more tessellated coloring pages, including several based on the art of M.C. Escher, by doing a search for “tessellation coloring page.”

8) Watch a tessellation tutorial video.

There are lots of them out there, but I like this one, which shows how to make a simple tessellating pattern from a square.

Video by TeacherTube Math.

You can find many great tutorials online, like the video above. Or download and print this section from my children’s picture book Tessalation!

10) Hug a friend. No—Tessellate with a friend.

This is an image of the last page of my children’s picture book, where the mother and daughter are reunited and “tessellate” together. Even though it can’t really repeat into infinity, a family hug is my favorite tessellation of all. 🙂

How are you celebrating? Tell us in the comments.

Whatever you do for World Tessellation Day, make sure to post an image on your favorite social media site and use the hashtags #WorldTessellationDay or #WorldTessDay.

In doing so, you will be a part of the creation of a world holiday devoted to playing with math. What fun!

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