Tessellations and Multiplication
Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Recently, I read an article from NCTM about students using tessellation pictures to describe a quantity, and I loved that idea! (You can check it out in Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching July 2021: Using TileFarm to Support Emerging Multiplication by Matt B. Roscoe.) Tessellations are pictures with repeated shape patterns. Many students create these using attribute blocks or make art with them by repeating the same shape with rotations, reflections, and translations.
In this article, Matt mentioned putting dots on them for students to represent repeated addition as a form of multiplication. Then, students can use their pictures to determine the number of dots by seeing the number of equal groups! I love this idea!
I thought it would be fun to do this digitally using shapes that are available to us without the specific software mentioned in the article and decided to create a Google Slides presentation. You can check out this digital resource for FREE by clicking on the link below.
In each slide, students are given two different shapes with dots on them.
Students just use the Google Slides to click on the shape and move it to create a pattern. Students can use all of the shapes given or just a few of them to create their pattern. Additional shapes can be made by making a copy of the grouped shape.
Once the pattern is created, students can determine the number of dots by typing in the number of groups in the text boxes.
Students can enjoy this activity and make countless representations using the 5 slides with different shapes. Just hit UNDO to move each shape back to its starting position. Encourage students to reshape and manipulate the given shapes to make it more challenging. Additional shapes can be added as well.
If you aren't into technology, this activity is easy enough to replicate with some pattern blocks. Either way, students are going to be expanding their understanding of shapes while working on multiplication. It's sure to be a creative and fun learning experience.
Grab your FREE download by clicking below!