Enduring Idea of the Unit: Ordered mathematical
structures find expression in works of art.
Art Idea of the Unit: Particular mathematical concepts
of order, such as transformations, pattern, and symmetry,
may best be learned through experiences in art.
- Which shapes will tessellate, or tile a plane with no
gaps or overlaps?
- Why will certain shapes tessellate and not others?
- Who was M.C. Escher and what does he have to do with tessellations?
- What is the connection between M.C. Escher and the Alhambra
- What cultural significance is behind the Islamic tile
work at the Alhambra?
· Students will understand the relationship between
mathematical concepts by using tessellations and
symmetrical design patterns used in Islamic designs.( Art Production)
· Students will understand the concept of rotational,
reflectional, and translational symmetry. (Art
· Students will understand the cultural significance
of geometric pattern in Islamic design (Art history,
· Students will understand the philosophical and
mathematical connections between M.C. Escher's
symmetrical works and the tile designs of Islamic
The NTIEVA Newsletter is published by the North Texas
Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts Editor:
Jacqueline Chanda 1155 Union Circle,# 305100, University of North
Texas, Denton TX 76203 940/565-3954 email@example.com
Co-Directors: Dr. Jack Davis and Dr. Jacqueline Chanda
Office manager: Daniel Watson
Overview of Lessons
This lesson focuses on the historical and cultural background
of the Islamic artists whose work influenced M.C. Escher in
the 1930’s. Students are encouraged to make as many
formal and philosophical connections as possible between M.C.
Escher's symmetrical designs and the tile work he found during
his visits to the Alhambra Palace.
Lesson 2: Radial Symmetry
The purpose of this lesson is to explore the mathematical
concepts of transformation embedded in Islamic tile work and
M.C. Escher's symmetrical drawings. In this lesson, students
will compare and contrast the different aspects of transformation
geometry and define reflective, rotational, and translational
symmetry. Activities encourage exploration of geometric shapes
in order to apply these concepts.
Lesson 3: Congruent Shapes and Tessellations
The purpose of this lesson is for students to design a tile
shape using the mathematical concepts from the previous lesson
and then use that design to create an original tessellated
pattern in the tradition of Moresque design.
Resources and Materials
Books and Publications
Critchlow, Keith. Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and
Cosmological Approach. New York: Shocken Books, 1976.
Escher, M.C. Escher on Escher: Exploring the Infinite.
New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1989.
Escher, M.C. M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work. New
York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1994.
Grabar, O. (1992). The Mediation of Ornament. New
Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Wilson, Eva. Islamic Designs for Artists and Craftspeople.
New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1988.
The North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual
Arts and this newsletter are supported by grants from
the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation; the Greater
Denton Arts Council and the Arts Guild of Denton;
the Texas Commission on the Arts; and Individual Donors.
The Institute collaborates with school districts,
museums, and art organizations within the state of
Texas. The NTIEVA Newsletter is published by the North
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