Tessellation Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Teaching students about geometric concepts can be tricky. Use this lesson plan to help your students understand and identify tessellations. View examples and help students identify real world examples. Follow up with an engaging activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and identify tessellations
  • discriminate between a pattern and tessellation
  • find tessellations in the real world


1 hour


  • samples of tessellations and those that are close but not tessellations
  • photographs of tessellations used in art and architecture
  • index cards
  • scissors
  • pencils, markers, crayons
  • paper

Key Vocabulary

  • tessellation
  • regular tessellation
  • semi-regular tessellation
  • polygon
  • equilateral

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.A.2

Understand that a two-dimensional figure is congruent to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, and translations; given two congruent figures, describe a sequence that exhibits the congruence between them.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.A.3

Describe the effect of dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections on two-dimensional figures using coordinates.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.A.4

Understand that a two-dimensional figure is similar to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, translations, and dilations; given two similar two-dimensional figures, describe a sequence that exhibits the similarity between them.


  • Begin by showing students an art sample that uses tessellations, found using a simple internet search. Ask students to describe the sample. Record words such as 'pattern', 'shape', 'symmetry', etc.
  • Tell students they are looking at an example of a tessellation. Define the word and ask students to record in their math notebooks.
  • Distribute copies of the lesson Tessellation: Definition & Examples.
  • Read the first section, 'What is a Tessellation?' with students. Discuss the two techniques used to create tessellations.
  • Show students' pictures that are and are not tessellations. Ask them to identify which are and are not, and give reasons for their answers.
  • Continue reading the section 'Classifying Tessellations'. Have students create a section for regular and semi-regular tessellations. Record information from each section as you read.
  • Read the section titled 'Examples of Tessellations'. Ask:
    • Why wouldn't the number system that was used to name the previous examples apply to those in this section?
    • How can combinations of rotation, translation, and reflection be used to create tessellations?
    • How do colors and patterns impact tessellations?
  • Continuing reading the lesson. Give examples of tessellations used in art and architecture.


  • Tell students they will be creating their own tessellations by creating repeating shapes.
  • Hand out supplies and instruct students to create and cut out a shape. Follow rules given in the lesson to trace, slide, and reposition the shape onto the paper to create a tessellation design.
  • Circulate the room to help students try rotating and reflecting the tessellations.
  • Have them use colors to enhance. Share with class and display in classroom.


  • For homework, ask students to find examples of tessellation. Take or draw pictures. Share with class.
  • Study how tessellations have been used in art and architecture in history. How has it changed or stayed the same?

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