|Tiles from Iran, c.1250 - 1300|
At the moment, Charlie says he wants to be an architect when he grows up, which means learning the skills of drawing will be very useful to him. But, of course, ambitions change rapidly as we mature and learn more about ourselves and the world we live in, so he may well end up as something else entirely. His desire to do art, however, seems perfectly sensible. He is simply asking to be allowed to do something which has been natural for human beings for as far back as we can know: the oldest known prehistoric art is the series of Stone Age petroglyphs discovered in two ancient caves in India and is estimated as dating from 290,000BCE.
In addition, studying art can lead into many other topics - which is why, this week, we have found ourselves learning about tessellation ('to tessellate: to decorate (a floor or pavement) with mosaics; to cover (a plane surface) by repeated use of a single shape, without gaps or overlapping', OED).
On Monday, Charlie chose a project from the Usborne Art Treasury which involved replicating Iranian tiles created in the Middle Ages. These tiles form a perfect pattern of stars and crosses which fit together without any gaps. The tiles shown in the photo above were made to decorate a room in a palace, but other tiles were used to decorate religious buildings.
|We cut three identical squares of cardboard and overlapped them to make a star|
|Charlie cut out the shape of a cross|
|The cut-out cross|
|He placed the cross and star shapes onto paper and drew round them.|
|The really fun bit: decorating them|
|The first tile|
|Our tessellated tiles, now decorating Charlie's bedroom wall|
One morning, we watched this introduction to tessellation.
There are several more videos on the BBC website on this subject, but we particularly enjoyed the one on shapes in the natural world.
Charlie remembered the five-sided shape of the Pentagon in the USA, so we had a look at the photo online and read about why the building was built in such an unusual shape (it fitted the plot!).
After that, Charlie had a go at working out which shapes would tessellate.
Then he spent some time colouring in some tessellated shapes downloaded from
Earlier this week, Charlie continued working on ConquerMaths because he really wanted to earn his gold certificate. He was very proud when he achieved it. This means he has progressed from Bronze (68%) to Gold (95%) in two weeks. Yesterday, he managed to achieve his Platinum certificate, which means he'd scored 100% in all his Maths tests.
Charlie hated Maths at school. But in the past few days, he has been doing Maths without even noticing it - and enjoying it.
This morning, he played in the polygon playground on mathcats and created this:
I pointed out that some of the shapes fitted together neatly and he said, patiently, "They're tessellated, Mum."