“I Don’t Really Know How I Did That!”

  • “I Don’t Really Know How I Did That!”

    By R. Scott Eberle
    Geometric tiling’s mathematical aesthetics yield a rich, motivating topic for open-ended mathematical exploration.
    I asked fourth grader Kobe if he could tile a floor with triangle pattern blocks. Kobe first sketched with paper and pencil how he could put together little triangles to make larger triangles. He noticed that hexagons and other shapes appeared inside the pattern (see fig. 1 ). When I asked him to make the tiling with pattern blocks, he carefully arranged the first triangles around a common vertex. As he placed the sixth triangle, a perfect hexagon appeared. Kobe paused at the unexpected shape. "I don't really know how I did that!" he commented.
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