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We started with the lesson in Penrose the mathematical cat on tessellations and then tried our hand at making our own tessellations by warping rectangles, cutting them out and then arranging them into a design. Penrose gives a short and easy description of how to do this. Then we moved to a website about M.C. Escher and spent some time looking at his amazing art! By all means, go to his official website (Mr. Escher died in 1972, but his foundation maintains a website of his work) at:
His works of symmetry can be viewed by clicking 'Picture Gallery' and then 'Symmetry'.
While searching for more information on tessellations we ran into this very fun website; it's a treat for the eyes and you can download several Java applets to fool around with various designs. The shortened version or home page is http://www.bugman123.com/ - from there you can click on "Math Artwork".
And finally, we happened to have a tessellation puzzle of bugs, so worked with that for a while at the kitchen table. Max was better at fitting the pieces into clumps; I could only seem to get them into a long line. He is definitely more spatially oriented than I am. I would not have made for a very good dentist! The Busy Beetle puzzle can be found here:
Here are some other fun tidbits that are tessellation-related: