As we have moved to a blended model of teaching and learning in June 2020, I had the pleasure of spending time with two small groups of grades 1&2 students at Grauer while they were at the school for in-school instruction. To connect to the different online math studio projects we had been doing this spring, I wanted to do something that connected math and art. The classroom teachers and I decided to explore tessellations with sidewalk chalk.
With the first class, it was raining quite heavily so we decided to stay indoors and practice create tessellating tiles from old library cards. The students drew a line from corner to corner on the bottom of the card, cut along the line and then “slide” that piece to the top of the card. Then using masking tape, the student taped the two pieces together. They were asked to imagine what that new shapes could be? What had they transformed the rectangle into?
Each student was given a large piece of paper to trace and tessellate their tiles and add details, patterns or character or animal features.
Later in the week, I visited the second class on a dry day outside. I demonstrated how to create a tessellating tile and the students were given a letter-size piece of manilla tag/cardstock. I had prepared individual bags of sidewalk chalk that students would use and then keep in their personal tote boxes for the rest of the month.
We headed outside and found an area of concrete where students could physically distance themselves. One student drew a circle around her space. The students traced and tessellated their tiles using sidewalk chalk and then added character features.
The following week, when it was dry outside the classroom teacher from the first class made larger tiles with them and they took them outside to tessellate using sidewalk chalk.
Usually with tessellating with primary students, we focus on collaborative tessellating with materials like pattern blocks but in this time of physical distancing and not using shared materials, this was a great task to focus on transformational geometry, positional language and spatial reasoning in our lead up to World Tessellation Day on June 17!