Students will identify geometric design concepts--radial design, repetition, and tessellations--found in Islamic ceramic tiles.
National Core Standards
Apply criteria to evaluate artwork
Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding
One or two class periods
Images of Islamic tiles that contain symmetry
Discuss and display geometric vocabulary: angle, plane, shape
Discuss and display design vocabulary: repetition, symmetry, two-dimensionality. Can students find a repeated pattern in the room (Floor tiles, ceiling, wall paper, notebook cover)? Is it symmetrical? Is it flat or does it look like it is “popping out”? Ask for examples of symmetry found in nature (butterfly, human face, leaf).
Show students examples of symmetrical UMMA Islamic tiles. Using these designs and others, trace patterns on paper and demonstrate that they could be folded in half. Some designs are symmetrical on a vertical axis and some are horizontal, and some are both.
Give students a square piece of paper, lightly divided in quadrants. Ask them to explore symmetry using tracing paper and rulers. If you have access to small mirrors, ask students to hold the mirror perpendicular to the axis and see if the design is the same in the reflection as on their paper.
Explain how symmetry can be graphed with an x and y-axis. Using students’ symmetrical designs, draw a graph on top, with (0, 0) coordinates in the center.
Use a compass: Demonstrate how a compass works and explain that almost all Islamic design is founded on the circle and line. If you are able, watch “All the Possible Polygons,” an animated drawing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBgIWQcC6lM Allow students to experiment with compasses and create symmetrical designs.