Recognising and creating patterns is one of the key areas for math as a child develops what may start as putting together a row of coloured beads is the foundation that lead to the discovery of the Fibonacci Sequence and the golden ratio – yes that’s a big step from making simple patterns in preschool and kindergarten but everyone has to start somewhere. Tessellation is just one area of pattern making that it is especially easy to explore through art and is a fun way to get kids to start thinking in terms of theĀ number of sides, angles as well as how shapes fit together. Trying through trial and error to get shapes to fit together without gaps children will start to develop an understanding of how a triangle is connected to a rectangle/square and from there how triangles can be connected to other shapes. For this week’s #TeachECE theme, we’re looking a fruit and vegetables so using potatoes to print out some simple tessellation is a fun art and maths activity.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

Learning Objectives

  • To print
  • To start to grasp tessellation and pattern making with simple triangles and rectangles

Materials Needed

Potato

Knife

Cutting Board

Paper

Two different coloured paints

Preparation

This is nice to do the cutting of the potato with the children, however, to get accurate shapes that will fit together it’s much easier to do it independently in preparation for the activity especially if you are doing this with a class or a group of children.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

Cut a potato in half – your children will find it easier to print if you create a handle in the top of the potato – use a knife to cut a section out from one side – leave a centre section of about 1cm and then cut out a similar section from the other side. Repeat on the other half of the potato.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

This time, we will be using squares and triangles as squares and triangles tessellate nicely. Cut out a square from one of the potato halves.

Use this square to cut out an equilateral triangle from the other potato half – it took me a little measuring and comparing to get the measurements of the sides of both the square and triangle equal however if you have a square template and a triangle template that you know tessellate then use this to create the shapes in the bottom of the potato half.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

Creating Potato Print Tessellation

We started off with a little demonstration of how the sides of a triangle were, all the same, size as the 4 sides of the square and that we could print them to get them to match up easily. After demonstrating by printing 4 triangles around a square, I set the challenge to fill the paper with a pattern with no spaces using just the triangles and squares.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

The first attempt was very random but it was interesting to see how T was trying to get the squares and triangles to fit together.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

We then looked at whether that was the easiest way to get the pattern and T pointed out that two triangles together would fit along 1 side of the square and the squares all made a neat row.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

So she proceeded to produce a row of squares and then the following row of triangles printing a row one direction and then rotating the potato to print in between the triangles to create a full row.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

She repeated with a row of the squares and another row of the triangles.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

Whilst we created the patterns we talked about the number of sides of the shapes, how many corners the shapes had.

Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

More Fruit and Vegetable Ideas for Preschoolers and Kindergarten

14 Ways to Build Language Skills While Making a Pot of Soup by Growing Book by Book

Fruits and Vegetables Beginning Sounds Sort by Learning 2 Walk

Fruits and Vegetables Beginning Sound Clip Cards by Mom Inspired Life

Describing Fruits and Vegetables-Learning About Adjectives by Capri + 3

Sorting Fruit and Vegetables by Color by Powerful Mothering

Fruit and Vegetable Hunt Farm Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s

Writing about Fruits and Vegetables by The Educators’ Spin On It

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Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making

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Potato Printing Tessellation - combine art and maths to create tessellation patterns and talk about shape facts and pattern making


Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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