August 13, 2012 by ray_emily
So! Everyone in the mathtwitterblogosphere is partaking in this super fun #Made4Math meme. Standing on the sidelines, I am amazed by all of the creativity – and also feeling a little left out. Turns out, I rarely make things for math – at least not in the scissors / glue / markers sense of the word.
My students, however, are totally crafty! Consequently, student-work is my go-to classroom decor. Despite my reluctance to craft, I do very much like to be surrounded by prettiness. Hanging up the stuff they create not only makes them feel all warm and fuzzy – it enables me to avoid bulletin board decorating and poster making and all that other stuff that I don’t get too excited about.
This Monday, rather than sharing something that I have crafted for my class, I’m going to cop out and share with you some really awesome student artwork. (Alas, maybe someday I will join the ranks and actually make something myself!)
Disclaimer: A few weeks ago, Marshall (@MTChirps) wrote about how tessellations are one of five math topics he’s bored with. He asked, “Is there anything challenging about chopping off a piece of a square and pasting it on the other side?” (Haha.) I hear you, Marshall. In my defense: During standardized testing week, the gazillions of soul-sucking bubbles have my kids feeling tense. Working on tessellations, post-testing, is a nice way to chill out – and simultaneously do something (kinda sorta) mathematical. (Yay, transformations!) Some kids get really into it, and end up with beautiful, expressive final products. All in all, it is a fluff activity, though. I can’t deny it.
[Now I’m wondering: Maybe I could think up some way to make this task a more rigorous one? Like, have them map their tessellations onto the coordinate plane and write rules for the translations? Or something? This is totally an under-developed idea. Does anyone out there do anything to give this activity a little more oomph?]
Anyhow, mostly I just want to show off. Enjoy!
Some really lovely pen/ink work, as well as color pencil shading, below.
Okay, one last note. I want to show you a close-up of the tessellation in the lower right-hand corner. See that woman with the big, nerdy round glasses and the shirt with a capital T?
“T” stands either for my last name, or for “teacher,” or both. Take your pick.
Now seems like a good time to note: I absolutely LOVE that I am ridiculously easy for students to render, artistically. Here is the formula, which never fails: Short Hair + Huge, Round Glasses = Ms. Tabak.
(I suppose I should post a picture of myself, here, so you can appreciate the humor, and recognize the uncanny resemblance. Hmmm….)
Oh, if you’ve never done tessellations with your kids, there are no doubt a million explanations, online. To save you 30 seconds, I’ll direct you to Dan Meyer’s instructions – from way back in the day – here and here. (I didn’t use a hexagonal base, as you might note. I gave each kid half of a 3×5 note card – in other words, a rectangular base.)