Geometrical Patterns with 2D Shapes

About a week ago, I linked up with Collaboration Cuties and shared a great mentor text, A Cloak for the Dreamer, for introducing students to the relationships between 2D shapes. (You can read my post about the book by clicking HERE) My students were so into the story that I was inspired to add a creative twist to an Investigations (our math resource) lesson. Today I'm sharing how we made our own geometrical cloaks!

After reading the story (and practicing various reading strategies as well) I explained to students that they could make their own cloaks... out of paper. They had explored tessellations, or patterns made out of identical, repeating shapes without gaps or overlaps, informally with pattern blocks, and we had discussed how the sides of polygons can fit together making various kinds of patterns.

I used a tessellation worksheet from our Investigations' unit on geometry, and had students color in 6 different kinds of patterns explaining that they would choose their favorite one to replicate for their cloaks. Some students were really creative when they colored in the pattern squares- I saw more than just single-colored shapes. There were rainbow patterns, stripes and even a pattern from one student's national flag!

Once they chose their favorite pattern out of the 6, they had to replicate it onto a larger sheet, also from the Investigations unit; we did this the following day. I made small 2x2 inch "frames" out of notecards so that they could repeat their patterns without frustration. (I STRONGLY recommend this! Even with the frames in play, a few kids got confused and made some mistakes with their patterns.) As you can imagine, this took a while!

Now here is where the book comes in! I made a simple cloak pattern out of poster board and the next day I had my kids trace it with a white colored pencil onto black construction paper and cut it out. I told them to just cut right in from the side promising them that nothing bad would happen- we would be securing it with glue!

Next, they placed the black paper on top of their tessellation page, centering it so that it would only show their pattern. They glued it into place and I helped them trim the white bits of paper if they were showing around the edges. I encouraged students to draw two strings (that you'd use to tie the cloak) near the top on the sides of the collar to make it look more like a cloak and less like a potato sack! I'm still not really sure that these look totally like cloaks, but my kids bought it, and that's all that matters, right?!? This is geometry, not fashion design.

I also typed up cute name label that said, "So-and-so's Cloak" and printed them out on colored paper. Finally I asked students to reflect on their cloak tessellation and describe what they saw, and what relationships they noticed. For example, someone might say, "I have small triangles that come together and make a bigger triangle." A lot of them commented on the colors and what they liked about it. I kept this simple and just had them write on a notecard, which they glued at the bottom of their paper.

This student is Egyptian- his flag is the black, white and red sqaure!
And there you have it! Paper cloaks, something you've always wanted to know how to make :)
What kinds of geometry activities do you like to do with your students?

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. This is wonderful. We do an art investigation at the end of the year as part of our Kindergarten PYP unit How We Express Ourselves. Last year was our first year and we did a lot with tessellations including finding websites that did the repetition for them. Your project would be a wonderful idea to try then. I like that the ones child wrote "rhombi". We teach beyond the kindergarten common core listed shapes in my classroom. This year, they loved rhombus and of course trapezoid is one of my favorites. I always introduce lots of math language like translation in geometry. We are reviewing symmetry this month by creating groundhogs out of hearts.

    1. Hi Jenn,
      Thanks for the suggestion about tessellation web sites- I will definitely check it out. My students would really love that!
      I think it's fantastic that your extending geometry vocab with your kinders- they will learn what we expect them to, even the plural form of rhombus! :)


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