Making Maths: Kites and Darts

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In Building Stars you can build the Penrose "kites and darts" tessellation, which is special because there is no repeating pattern in it. As well as trying this out on your computer, we are also including templates of the kite and dart shapes below so you can make all manner of tessellations yourself. Here's how:

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Sponges (the ones used for washing up would be best)
  • Poster paints
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Ruler

What to do:

  1. Carefully copy the templates onto paper, or print them off, and cut out the shapes.
  2. Draw round the paper template on a sponge (if you've got sponges with a scouring i.e. rough surface then use this side to draw onto).
  3. Carefully cut out your two sponge shapes, making sure that you stay very closely to the outline otherwise they may not fit together.
  4. Dip the sponge into the paint and press it firmly onto the paper to make a print. You'll need to use a different sponge for each colour you choose.
  5. Have a go at making the Penrose "kites and darts", or try to create a tessellation using shapes of your choice. Don't forget to draw them accurately otherwise they may not fit together. You'll probably have to draw your design on paper first.

Why not have fun with your own template for Christmas or New Year?

Can you design a star that tessellates with another shape?

You could even use your pattern to make wrapping paper for birthdays too.

This activity features in our December 2008 Advent Calendar.