Patterns and Design
Design with Shapes
Age: 5 & up
Prerequisites: The child should have considerable experience with matching fraction circles and polygons, as well as associating numerals with fraction circles and polygons.
Screen objects: Pallette and blank document. Pallette has eight outlines of polygons in one column, ten outlines of fraction circles in next. Fraction circles and polygons line up so that the triangle is next to fraction circle with three sectors, etc. To the left of the one sector fraction circle is a buttcon with a cursor on it. This is the moving/resizing tool. Below this and to the left of the two-sector fraction circle is the buttcon for printing. A third column of buttoncons on the pallette shows color tablets of various colors, as well as buttcons for filling in a figure (a bucket of paint emptying into a container), creating new document, opening a document, saving a document, printing, cutting, copying, and pasting. There is a menu selection to hide or show the third column. For initial presentation, the third column is hidden.
Presentation: (Individual or small group)
Variations: In subsequent presentations, introduce the third column of buttcons. Teachers can customize buttcon set to add any or all of the third column buttcons. This exercise is related to the artistic composition with geometric insets.
Extensions: Work with tesselations, islamic patterns, African textile designs.
Points of Interest: Discovery of relationships between figures.
Control of Error: Student's aesthetic judgement.
Direct Aims: Opportunity to apply understanding of fraction circles and polygons, experiment through design to discover relationships.
Indirect Aims: Preparation for recognition of external angles of regular polygons.
Software Affordance: The figures can be perfectly formed to allow children to discover true relationships between them. Figures of many sizes can be drawn (e.g., a number of concentric pentagons can be drawn inside a circle with five sectors).
Software Constraints: Unlike the polygons in the geometric cabinet, the polygons cannot be rotated. Unlike the polygons made of geometry sticks, the sides of the polygons are rigid and cannot be added or removed. The sectors of the fraction circles cannot be removed from the circles. The sectors and circles cannot be rotated.