The author has focused on the study of pattern as the intersection of art and mathematics. At this site, symmetry is used to analyze the patterns in Oriental carpets. Educational activities are provided along with other educational resources. This web site is a collaborative project of The Textile Museum and The Math Forum. This site is part of the larger Math Forum site. See additional reviews at Math Forum, 3-D Geometry and Drawing, and The Math Forum Internet Mathematics Library.
Type of Material:
Lecture/presentation plus a variety of suggestions for hands-on activities and exploration.
Classroom demonstration; student exploration. Good materials for student projects.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To briefly explain the various types of symmetry and to apply them to the study and understanding of Oriental carpet patterns.
Target Student Population:
Elementary, middle, high school and college students who want to investigate patterns and symmetry
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic knowledge of geometric shapes
This site presents the concepts of symmetry and pattern in very simple terms and applies these concepts to Oriental rugs and their designs. The four basic types of symmetry (translations, rotations, reflections and glide reflections) are explained; the seventeen types of field patterns and the seven types of border patterns are also briefly described and examples are given of each. Connections to tessellations are made. In addition, a gallery consisting of 28 examples of Oriental rugs was provided along with verbal and graphic descriptions of the field and border patterns involved.
The description of a glide reflection was given as rigid motion with reflected repetition along a line. However, the visual illustration appeared to indicate rotation along with reflection. Normally, glide reflection involves reflection across a line combined with translation along the line.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The material on this site provides an effective resource for engaging students in the investigation of symmetry in a somewhat unusual and attractive application; suggestions for educational activities are made that can be applied at various educational levels. A brief glossary is included along with links to several related Web sites.
While clear and concise, the brevity of the explanations might present some disadvantage in that students might prefer more elaboration. A bibliography was included (printed materials only) but the references were primarily at the adult/professional level rather than at the student level.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site is primarily text and graphics. No technical difficulties were encountered in the use of this site and the navigation was simple.
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