Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Making a Star Pattern

I asked the kids to make a star pattern this morning.

They knew what I meant but I wanted them to clarify the concept anyway.

They told me:


- it needs to be a star shape

- it needs to be a pattern

- it is not a straight line - by this, they meant it is not linear but it is radial, not words they know (yet) but ones that we will introduce.

Once they had made some patterns I asked them what these patterns had in common and what they had that was different.

They told me:

- all star patterns are joining together in the middle - this was a great observation and will become the focus when we start talking about radial symmetry

- different stars can have different numbers of legs - another good observation. Some of the patterns we made had 4, 5, 6, 8, 10....legs.

Here are pictures of what they produced:


4-pointed star:


This started from the outside and moved inwards. It got a bit tricky when the pieces didn't fit neatly but the idea is there.


5-pointed star:



I liked this because, while 5-pointed stars are quite a common in nature, I wasn't sure that any of the students would come up with this.


6-pointed star:






The pattern blocks are good for this as they make good use of the hexagon as a basic shape.

7-pointed star:



This is one I really wasn't thinking I would see. You can see that it is difficult to make a pattern with seven as your base number but we made a good attempt.


8-pointed star that became 12-pointed:



This one seemed to grow by itself as the pattern radiated outwards.


10-pointed star:



 This is unusual. It has symmetry but I'm not sure that is is perfectly radial. I think it gets back to the idea that the star needs to start at a point in the very centre.








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