The Art of  Geometry

Elliot Eisner, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University states, “Learning through the arts promotes the idea that there is more than one solution to a problem, or more than one answer to a question.” It is this reasoning that informs Falmouth Academy's Arts Across the Curriculum Program. Engaging in artistic endeavors  expand a person's worldview, nurtures a suppleness to their thinking and a playfulness with ideas and experiences, helps one learn from mistakes and make critical judgements.

Throughout the year, various grades make art in their academic subjects led by resident artist and teacher, Lucy Nelson, ranging from illuminated letter drawing in Western Civilization to  creating silk batiks of watersheds in Environmental Science. These activities bring a new dimension of learning to the subject matter and a creative experience to all the students.

This fall, Geometry students in 9th and 10th grade studied the art of M.C. Escher and learned how to make tessellations, or repeating geometric forms. The pattern utilizes the same shape repeating itself ad infinitum. 

Starting with either a square, parallelogram, equilateral triangle, or a hexagon, students learned how to make a repeating pattern by either translating a design across the shape to the opposite side, rotating the design by 60, 90, 120, or 180 degrees to an adjacent side, or reflecting the design.

Students then used their imaginations to determine what their final shape could be, and designs range from a face to a rocket to a tree. Finally, students traced this shape onto a piece of paper, repeated it to fill the paper, and used colored pencils to add details and finish the design.

I used a hexagon as my template to make an elephant tessellation. First I had to draw something that actually looked like an elephant. Then, I had to rotate each new elephant so that the legs fit into the next one while balancing the body and head in keeping with the pattern. It was a fun challenge. I enjoyed that it was a low-key time doing art with my friends.”

Ryan Waite '21

Ryan's elephant hangs in the main hall alongside his classmates’ artwork for an all-school appreciation of tessellation.