TESSELLATION WORKSHOP: Round 1, year 9, 210 students

On the 7th of October 2011 it was Ada Lovelace day at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls.

ADA LOVELACE, the 'Enchantress of Numbers' worked with Charles Babbage, categorically speaking she was the first computer programmer ever and she was a woman (it is debated that she was in fact the first theoretical computer scientist as opposed to a programmer).  

This was the first a series of workshops I am co-running with community artist Darcey Williamson which aim to encourage creative practice and thought in schools, emphasising the use of maths and science in art, design and music and creative collaborative practice and thought in science. The workshops demonstrate the value of science, maths and creative thinking across disciplines and how they feed into each other in many vocations. The workshop took place in the school hall, with all 210 surprisingly responsive year 9 students. They interpreted the pattern making maths task really well and we were frankly amazed with the patterns produced by the students. And with their seeminly nonchalant genius. We talked about tessellation in nature, design, art, architecture and engineering pointing their attention to the fine work of Olafur Eliasson among others and to last (school) year's STEMNET project 'Dome Build' with 2010-2011's year 10s. We wanted to convince the students that maths and geometry were beautiful, communicative and fun. So the workshop incorporated a geometry lesson about WHY it is impossible to tessellate a regular pentagon (or any other regular polygon with any MORE THAN 6 sides), in a regular way, on a plane (on a 2D surface).

N/B: A regular tessellation is a tessellation made up of the same shape- like a bee hive is made of hexagons.

Here is a hint: A circle on a plane measures 360 degrees......Think of interior angles.



Fa├žade for Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, 2011
© Portus ehf, Olafur Eliasson, and Henning Larsen Architects via//// http://www.olafureliasson.net/index.html