Maths AND creativity??
I know! two words you would never normally put together. Maths is usually a subject people associate with lessons that involve worksheet upon worksheet where your answer can either be right or wrong. Where is the fun in that? No wonder so many children hate maths when they are stuck doing the same boring lessons. But maths CAN be fun and creative! This was proven in the two workshops we had in the discovering mathematics module that focused on the creative side of maths.
In Eddie’s workshop, we looked at teaching creative maths in geometry. For example, teaching about shapes by using tessellation. A tessellation (or tiling) is a repeating pattern of shapes that fit perfectly together without any overlaps or gaps. There are different types of tessellations: regular, semi-regular, and then other tessellations of circular, curved, irregular shapes that mathematicians cannot agree on how to name. Tessellations of CONGRUENT shapes, are called monohedral tessellations. The word monohedral basically means ‘one’ – mono and ‘shape’ – hedral. Regular tessellations are made up of only one regular shape repeated, whilst semi-regular tessellations are made up of two or more regular shapes tiled to create a repeating pattern. The regular shapes that tessellate are: squares, hexagons and equilateral triangles. ALL triangles and quadrilaterals also tile but they are not ‘regular’ shapes and often have to be rotated to make them fit together.
Tessellations are a great for connecting maths and art together. Many historic paintings were made using tessellations and by showing some examples of these to a class, it would be a great way to engage the children in the lesson immediately. They probably wouldn’t even think it was a maths lesson! I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop and creating my own tessellation with Caitlin. Creating patterns with the different shapes and colours whilst also making sure everything fitted together perfectly was a fun challenge and is a lesson I will use in the future. It allows the children to fully experiment with 2D shapes instead of just looking at them in a textbook.