Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Painting" Tessellations - Geometry for Children

I was up to my elbows in glue, and tissue paper today, trying to transform a newspaper covered balloon, and a bunch of toilet paper rolls into a pinata, that at least remotely resembled an octopus, or maybe a squid, or anything oceany, for an upcoming "under the sea" birthday party.

At any rate, I needed something to keep the younger girls busy, and out of trouble, and preferably helping to create some marine themed party decor. I also wanted to keep up the geometric momentum we've had going, this week.

Luckily for me, it's a short step from fractals, and polygons, to tessellations. And, fish fit perfectly into repeating, geometric patterns. In fact, when I have a little more time on my hands, I'd like to go back, and check out the fish themed tessellation project at Art Projects for Kids. But, today I needed something quick, and simple - like a coloring sheet.

I found just what I was looking for on the Edkins Family Website. The only thing I was worried about, was whether the girls would really sit still long enough to color in all the tiny squares. Then, as I went to print the pattern, I saw a note suggesting, saving it as a file, with a right click, and then opening it in Window's Paint program.

That was a fantastic idea, because the girls love playing with the Paint program.

I sat with E (age 5), and helped her choose colors to start with.

Then, in no time at all, she had picked up the pattern, and was not only happily filling in the fish, from line to line, but also using the pattern to predict ahead, all the squares for one color.

It wasn't long before C (age 4), joined her, cheering her on, and anxiously awaiting her turn to paint.

They seemed to think it was some kind of new computer game. And, they played happily, oblivious to the math they were doing, for long enough for me to get a good start on the pinata (more on that later).

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Anonymous said...

Love the eyes! Great Legs! LOVE IT! What a fun party it will be. Can't wait for more to see. Nice job using math to distract. . . . :)

Debbie said...

That pattern would be enough to make me dizzy, great math lesson though. Love your little octopus!

Phyllis said...

You are sneaky! Thanks for letting us in on your secrets! Cute pinata.

Joyful Learner said...

First, I thought you were going to cover the octopus with tesselations and then I read carefully. What a great idea to paint the patterns using the computer! I think this is something K would prefer over having to color them with crayons. Love the octopus too!

Unknown said...

I just love tessellations! I used to use them in an M.C. Escher unit when I taught in the public school system-

You should DEFINITELY introduce his art to the kiddos when you get a moment- it is so WILD...

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I can also imagine that computer coloring will be very popular here too. Your girls did great, and the octopus is amazing.

Christy Killoran said...

My kids would prefer to paint on the computer too. I think they would have fun with that program.

I LOVE the octopus. You are the queen of pinatas!

Ticia said...

I'm with Debbie, I'd be so dizzy. I should let my kids try to color on the computer at some point. They'd probably love it.

Octopus turned out cute.