TESSELLATION DESIGN and CONSTRUCTION
inspired by a classroom activity
presented by Dr. Jim Overholt, CSU-Chico Ed. Dept.
TOPIC: This is a visual arts lesson featuring individual exploration which emphasize that repetitive shapes, lines and color patterns can become art.
RATIONALE: The importance of this lesson is its application of the basic elements and concepts of the visual art's perceptual component - such as shape, line and color - as well as serving as a provider of creative experiences that foster problem solving and reflective thinking. Development of the former skill allows artists to comprehend and respond to these basic elements in a way that heightens understanding and appreciation for visual arts in greater depth and detail. The latter promotes originality, imagination, and creativity.
Artistic Perception: Each artist will identify the simple shape that helped create his or her complex tesselation design.
Creative Expression: Each artist will design a unique, imaginary drawing that gives meaning to the simple shape using line and color.
STRATEGY: A combination of direct instruction, modeling, guided discovery, and a group process will be used.
VOCABULARY: Pattern/Repetitive, Shape, Line, Color.
Pattern/Repetitive - A process that occurs more than once.
Shape - The surface configuration of a closed drawing.
Line - Boundary between two areas that varies in width, direction and length.
Color - Sensation produced by the effect of waves of light striking the retina of the eye. Different colors are produced by rays of light having different wavelengths.
Introduction: The teacher will pose the following challenge while holding up a 4-inch square piece of stiff tagboard, "Each of you will be able to create your own artwork, called a tessellation, using this square!". Write the word 'tessellation' on a white board. The teacher then checks responses to the question, "Does anyone know what a tessellation is?". The responses are noted on the whiteboard.
The teacher directs attention to a 4-inch square and, using a marker, models drawing a continuous line that begins and ends - without touching - along one side of the square.
NOTE: Pre-writing on an overhead projector, or a photocopied transparency of the seven below-mentioned steps, may make the lesson flow smoother. The steps are provided on a master form on the last page of this lesson.
The teacher writes on the whiteboard, '1. Draw a line that begins and ends along one side of the square. This line starts and finishes in two different corners. These corners are next to each other. The line does not touch.'
Then, the teacher has an artist draw another line on an adjacent side of the square in a similar fashion, without crossing any other lines, and unique in design.
The teacher continues writing on the whiteboard, '2. Draw another line on a side of the square that is next to the first line. Both lines do not touch themselves or each other. '
Following this, the teacher asks an artist to cut out one of the lined shapes, and another to cut out the other adjacent shape.
The teacher writes, '3. Cut out both lined shapes.'
Each artist then reattaches the piece that he or she cut out onto the edge of the opposing side of the square - in the identical direction, with the same side exposed - using a piece of tape.
The teacher writes, '4. Tape the shapes to the other side side of the square.'.
The teacher grasps the taped shape and, pressing it firmly against a whiteboard, outlines it with a marker. The teacher writes, '5. Outline the whole shape.' The teacher then places the shape to one side of the drawing, lines up an identical edge, and then outlines the other three sides of the shape. This procedure is repeated until several shapes in varying directions are outlined on the whiteboard.
The teacher writes, '6. Line up the shape alongside the two lines that match. Outline the second whole shape. Repeat outlining alongside shapes until the whole page is filled.'
Referring to the whiteboard drawing, the teacher asks the artists, "Can anyone see any imaginary figures, objects, animals, etc... in an individual shape?". Several imaginary figures are noted, and the teacher asks for volunteer artists to draw lines and use colored markers to illustrate his or her image in one of the outlined shapes. This activity continues until all artists' suggestions are exhausted and comprehension is assumed.
The teacher writes, '7. Look for a picture inside the shapes. Draw and color the picture.'.
A 4-inch square of stiff tagboard, a pencil, and a scissors are issued to the artists. Instructions are to draw two continuous lines, then cut and reattach the portions as described in the aforementioned introduction.
Following the distribution of white 8.5x11 inch paper and colored markers, the artists are to outline his or her shape one time, then continue replicating the shape as described in the aforementioned introduction. Once the artists fill his or her page with a pattern of shape outlines, they are to add line and color illustrations to each shape. These illustrations depict an imaginary figure of his or her choice. This repetitious process creates tessellations and completes the activity sequence.
Closure: The artists will form cooperative groups of approximately four. Each artist will describe the simple shape he or she utilized in the design of his or or her tessellation, as well as the imaginary figure that each artist developed for the simple shape using lines and color. These descriptions will be shared amongst the group. Each artist will record in pencil this information on the back of his or her tesselation. Then, all tessellations are given to the teacher for evaluation and display.
Evaluation: The teacher will note each artist's identification of the simple shape that helped create his or her complex tessellation design. The teacher will also note the imaginary figure that each artist developed for the simple shape using lines and color.
CLEAN-UP: All materials are returned to appropriate locations. Clean-up is very simple with no paints, glues, etc... to mess with.
4-inch square pieces of stiff tagboard (a few pieces per artist).
8.5x11 sheets of white paper (a few pieces per artist).
Whiteboard and whiteboard markers in several colors.
Overhead projector and marker/transparency - optional.
(See next page / See NOTE: entry in introduction to lesson.)
Journal writing exercises describing the process of making a tesselation and each artist's results..
Internet search and group reports surrounding the artwork and life of Maurits Cornelis (M.C.) Escher, a noted tessellation artist.
SEVEN STEPS TO MAKING A TESSELLATION1. Draw a line that begins and ends along one side of the square. This line starts and finishes in two different corners. These corners are next to each other. The line does not touch.
2. Draw another line on a side of the square that is next to the first line. Both lines do not touch themselves or each other.
3. Cut out both lined shapes.
4. Tape the shapes to the other side side of the square.
5. Outline the whole shape.
6. Line up the shape alongside the two lines that match. Outline the second whole shape. Repeat outlining alongside shapes until the whole page is filled.