Decorative Arts: Lesson One-Procedure

Suggested Procedures for Tessellation Design:

Introduce polygons (a flat, closed figure bounded by three or more straight lines) and review the principles of tessellations. A tessellation occurs when shapes fit together exactly on a flat surface without gaps. At this time the students will be introduced to the concept of tiling. When tiling there can be no gaps or overlaps. Polygons can be used to tile a surface. To demonstrate tiling, use the square blocks from a geo-block set on the overhead projector

(Dissection Tiling PDF).

GA QCCs for Fine Arts:

  • Discuss the shapes and patterns found in the room.
  • Direct the students to select a polygon shape (triangle, square, pentagon or hexagon) that will tessellate.
  • Using poster board or tag board, create a template.
  • Trace the template to make a pattern on the paper. Consider using other polygons to make a border or central motif.
  • Islamic artists soften the hard shapes in their geometric designs by drawing organic shapes, such as leaves and flowers, in the middles of the larger shapes. Add organic shapes inside a polygon.
  • Color in the design.

Extension / Alternative Lessons:

  • Examine the influences of Classical Greek geometry upon the Islamic style (Sacred Geometry).
  • Explore other tessellation activities listed in the Instructional Resources.
  • For more information about careers in interior design and stained glass design (Visual Arts Career Guide).

Instructional Resources:

Wasserman, R. (1979). The Mathematics of Islamic Art. New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Roberts, K. (2002). The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Atlanta, GA: Atlanta Metropolitan Publishing.

Art Dictionary

Dissection Tilting

Platonic Solids

Sacred Geometry

Tantalizing Tessellations!

Tessellation Games

Tessellation Lesson Plan


Art Rubric