This project is a great S.T.E.M. connection. I was inspired by Artwithmsgram’s Tessellation Monsters.
We began by learning all about M. C. Escher and his famous tessellations. Students found inspiration in the bold, graphic quality of his work and began “sketching” on iPads using the wonderful app iOrnament. This app is really cool because there are options for colors and line thickness as well as many choices for tiling or tessellating. I had originally wanted to use another app which didn’t work out but thanks to iPad Art Room I was able to find another option. The kids came up with some really creative designs!
They took a screenshot of their favorite concept and emailed it to me. I have compiled all of the designs class by class into albums on Imgur. That way, the kids can access their work from any computer and check out what their classmates created as well. Check out our virtual sketchbook albums HERE. I projected my email inbox on the whiteboard so kids could see who sent me the work.
The next part of the lesson was really tricky. Kids had to come up with 3 different ideas and make them tessellate across the page. They traced a square onto sketch paper. I found that the easiest way to explain this was to use the analogy of legos or puzzle pieces. Some kids caught on really quickly and were able to come up with wonderfully creative ideas.
The trick here is to keep it simple. Students quickly realized that if their shapes were too complicated it would be very difficult to tessellate or repeat a shape.
Most ideas were monsters or faces but the kids had the freedom to design anything they wanted. They traced over their designs with sharpie and used complementary colors to color with markers.
Students could show a pattern of complementary colors any way they wanted. Some kept it simple and clean while others played with creative designs.