• Cartonnage Mummy Case, c. 50 BC–AD 50. Cartonnage, painted and gilded, with glass inlays; 8-1/16 x 22-7/16 x 65-1/2 in. John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1914.715
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Tessellation Exploration!

Grade Level: 
7–12
Student Level: 
Middle School

What is the difference between a regular tessellation and a semi-pure tessellation? Where does the term tessellation originate, and what is the sum of angles around one vertex in a tessellation of the plane by polygons? Treat your class to an art-filled math experience using museum objects and patterned surfaces to explore different math concepts about tessellations and polygons.

Students are introduced to a mummy case, an Islamic prayer niche, an Escher print, and other works while learning to identify various tessellations using a viewing guide included in the Teacher Information Packet, that accompanies the videoconference.

Program Format: 
  • Discuss definition of tessellations, and examples students have seen (tiled floors, quilts, etc).
  • Define math terminology, such as polygon, regular polygon, and regular tessellation.
  • Introduce works from the museum with examples of regular tessellations.
  • Students work on math viewing guide throughout the program.
  • Discuss regular vs. non-regular tessellations, and look at non-regular examples, including M.C. Escher's work.
  • View and discuss examples of semi-regular and demi-regular tessellations.
Objectives: 
  • Students will learn how different cultures have used math and tessellations in their work.
  • Students will learn the difference between the many types of tessellations.
  • Students will see how math can be used to create art.