One of my student’s goals for our virtual math summer camp is to “recognize and explore math found in everyday life”. I have taken that as a personal challenge to expand what my students think of as “math”. So today, we made tessellations.
I like tessellations because there isn’t anything obviously “mathy” about them, except for the fact that you’re working with shapes (geometry), patterns (so many patterns in math), and aesthetics (mathematicians always say that math is beautiful). So, actually, they are very “mathy”, but they don’t involve numbers, so students tend to think about them differently. Which is great, because it allows for different kinds of math students to thrive.
We started by looking at a few examples and talking about what we noticed. Then, we started making our own using this tool.
It was really amazing to see who struggled with this task and who shined. The students who often describe themselves as “bad at math” made some really beautiful patterns, including an amazing radial design that I was blown away by.
Upon reflection, this activity got an enthusiastic response from all of my campers. It was nice to start our time together today with lots of thumbs-ups and smiles.
We’ll see what they think of the Open Middle problems that we are going to work with tomorrow.
P.S. I love getting to try out all of sorts of new tools and strategies with my campers/beta testers this summer. I didn’t really think I would have this much fun with my virtual math camp (thought I certainly hoped that I would!).