Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tessellations: Everyone Rotate, Translate and Reflect

It's been a while since I've done tessellations with sixth graders.  I've done my multiplication + Klee lesson many times, but it's been several years since I've spent time on just tessellations.  I use the Tessellations DVD, and I have the posters too.  We watch the whole video (or almost all of it) without working (because otherwise they just copy what he does).  Then we make our tessellation piece using index cards:

And we trace them in our sketchbooks to practice.
This proved vital for later when they "lost" their piece.
Well, go cut one out of your sketchbook--problem solved!
One class (my CWC--class within a class, more SpEd students) did translation tessellations where they just slide:

Tracing with Sharpie.
That group used color sticks (those things by Crayola that are just the colored parts of colored pencils without the wooden part) to color them:

And then they added their henna hands that they'd already made:

Another class did rotation tessellations, which I totally screwed up for them.  I had them make them and practice them in their sketchbooks and trace them on green paper:

The problem came when I tried having them trace them on patterned paper to cut and glue and only after they tried it did I realize it wasn't going to work.  Art Teacher Fail.  So we quickly had to erase and re-trace them with the index lines facing down:

Of the three groups, the reflection group turned out the least best, and it was totally my fault.  Here's some finished-or-nearly-finished reflection tessellations with or without henna hands:

Tessellations are good things, but not figuring out the screw-ups before hand are NOT good.  
The group that did reflection tessellations (the hardest ones because they have to flip the piece their tracing over back and forth) traced them on red paper:

Students could add details with sharpie if they chose.

They then used construction paper crayons to color them (oh my goodness! I love those crayons so very much!!!)

They just finished today, adding their hands:

And then one of my students used the crayons to do this:

--which led to a great discussion about Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.

It's been a long, tedious road for my sixth graders, so they're due for a fun clay project next!

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