Unit topic: Geometry (Identifying and manipulating the characteristics of shapes)

Grade Level: 4

Lesson: Tessellations (This lesson will be done over a two day period. The first day is designed to activate background knowledge and introduce new skills).

Lesson Objectives:

1. The students will be able to identify and name basic shapes, and their attributes.

2.  The students will be able to describe location and movement using geometric vocabulary.


3.  The students will be able to build and draw geometric objects, as well as manipulate the basic shapes, creating various tessellations.

Instructional Techniques: Brief introductory teacher lecture, partner work, creating of a visual aid, class discussion resulting in a cumulative class list. Interactive website and reflective writing.

Instructional Materials: Chart paper, makers, white board or blackboard, teacher made handout to supplement interactive website, online manipulative.

Theoretical Prospective: The students will use this information as a basis for building future geometrical skills and knowledge. They will be exposed to the geometric language and use this in their educational careers.

Curriculum Frameworks:

4.G.1. Compare and analyze attributes and other features of two and three dimensional geometric shapes.

4.G.2. Describe, model, draw, compare, and classify two and three dimensional shapes.

4.G.3. Recognize similar figures.


1. The students will have background knowledge of the basic shapes, and symmetry.

2. The students will be introduced to the characteristics that make up a tessellation. Through teacher demonstration, examples of how to create a tessellation will be modeled for the students. They will be encouraged to participate in this and apply any knowledge they may already have on the topic.

3. Students will be asked to explore their classroom environment and surroundings to find anything they think is a tessellation. They will list their findings and talk about them with a partner.

4.In their partnerships they will determine which ones are true tessellations. The students will choose the “best” or “favorite” tessellation and sketch it on poster paper. Everyone will hang their poster for the class to view.

5. The students will discuss their findings as a class and we will create a class list of all the tessellations found.

6. The teacher will bring up the interactive website and demonstrate to the students how to use the tools provided to create their own tessellation. The website will be bookmarked on each student’s computer.

7. The students will be provided with the attached handout. They will follow the directions on the website (this will be reinforced on the student handout). http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/frames_asid_163_g_2_t_3.html?open=activities&from=grade_g_2.html. The first step will be a trial to familiarize the students with the website (tiling with triangles).

8. After completing each of the next five steps, the students will print their tessellation, (tiling with polygons, tiling with squares and octagons, tiling with triangles and hexagons, and tiling with three different shapes).

9. The students will choose one of their printed tessellations, and describe it using geometric language.


Adaptations: Students with math phobia will be benefited by having the support of a partner during the introductory activity. Students with poor study skills will have a day in-between lessons to ask any questions and seek additional support from their teacher. They will also have time to review the material before being expected to do it independently. The website can be converted into Spanish and French to aid students who may be English Language Learners.  


Evaluation: To evaluate the students, the teacher will have a copy of their tessellations printed out from the interactive website to review. The students will also hand in their worksheet with their reflection response focusing on one of the tessellations they created.

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