Name of Project: Tessellated Tapestries

Grade Level or Age of Participant: Grade 8 (12-14years)

School, Teacher and Classroom: Clara Barton Open School, Allison Rubin

MCAD Teaching Artist:  Kehayr Brown

Visual Arts Content or Standards

Standard – Foundations

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the foundation of the arts area

  • Analyze how the principles of visual art, such as repetition, pattern, emphasis, contrast and balance are used in the creation, presentation of, or response to the visual artworks.

Standard – Artistic Process: Create or Make

  • Create or Make in a variety of contexts in the arts area using the artistic foundations.

  • Create original two- and three- dimensional artworks in a variety of artistic contexts

Overview of Project

Students individually create a tessellation pattern of shapes closely fitted together without gaps or overlapping. Patterns are combined into a group project that is printed onto a light fabric as an exploration in production design.

“Big Ideas”/ Essential QUESTION:  How does math support design?

Student Outcome Objectives: Students will  

  1. Look at a variety of tessellated patterns to gather ideas

  2. Create a shape to be tessellated

  3. Explore the ideas of pre-production and outsourcing

Prior Knowledge: Students will need to know what shapes naturally tessellate, how to transform a shape into another that will tessellated. 


Tessellation - fours types: Translation, Reflection, Rotation, Glide Reflection

Product Design

Pre production

Examples of Artwork

Rayuela, Alvaro Catalan de Ocon, waxed maple, oak and walnut (stool)

ARGYLE, Nahla Osman (stool)

Kinematics (3D printing system – clothing)

How to Tessellate from the Exploratorium.pdf


The quality of work will show that the students thought about the shapes they are using and the complexity of a tessellation. Students will have put in an adequate amount of time to develop a pattern that they are satisfied with to be handed over for final production.


Chip Board (3x3”)

Paper (9x9”)

Colored pencil


Rulers or protractors



Fabric and printing for final product

Sewing machine for finishing

4' wooden rod for hanging

 Learning Activities and Timing 

  1. 10 min. Introductions: teaching artist and project; share examples of tessellated patterns used in industrial design. Students share observations of patterns in their immediate environment.

  2. 20 min. Exploration of Shapes: creating the tessellation that will be repeated for the pattern. See attached pdf above.

  3. 20 min. Creation Time: students will use this time to create the pattern that with their shape

  4. 5 min CLEAN UP! Work that is not completed will be assigned for homework and picked up by the teaching artist to be included in the printing the following week

Following class period:

  1. 20 min Assessment: Student use the Critical Response Protocol to critique the work. Each students takes a turn in a circle to answer the following questions as the artist facilitates the process.

  • What do you notice about this artwork?

  • How does this artwork make you feel?

  • What does it remind you of?

  • What questions do have about this final artwork and process?