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Introductory References about Tessellations (tilings) and Sources for Illustrations

Compiled by Doris Schattschneider, Moravian College, schattdo@moravian.edu

My recommendation for the best introduction to making tessellations is the book Introduction to Tessellations by Britton and Seymour. The comprehensive collection of Escher's drawings of tessellations is in Visions of Symmetry by Schattschneider.

There are many articles on tessellations in The Mathematics Teacher and Mathematics Teaching (the journal of the British Association of Mathematics Teachers). Only a few of these articles are listed below.

Dover Books has a very rich offering of books that have examples of tessellations. Two recently published books on polyominoes (one by George Martin, published by the MAA, the other by Solomon Golomb, published by Princeton University Press) contain tiling recreations; see also books by Martin Gardner that contain reprints and updates of his previous Scientific American columns, several of which discussed tilings.

Films and videotapes

  • The Alahambra Past and Present - A Geometer's Odyssey, Parts I and II (Lorraine Foster), California State University, Northridge, 1992. (VHS color videotape; approx 30 min each)
  • Dihedral Kaleidoscopes (H.S.M. Coxeter), College Geometry Project, 1966. Available from International Film Bureau, Chicago. (16mm film & VHS color videotape, 13 min.)
  • Isometries (S. Schuster, W.O.J. Moser), College Geometry Project, 1967. Available from International Film Bureau, Chicago. (16 mm color & VHS videotape, 26 min.)

    Sets of tiles and tiling games

    There are several commercially available sets of tiles and tiling games. Actually building a tiling with cut-out tiles is one of the best ways to come to understand its properties. Check the catalogs of distributors of mathematics supplemental teaching materials such as Dale Seymour, Creative Publications, Cuisenaire, and Tarquin (British). Also check the shops and catalogs of art museums and science museums.

    Pattern Blocks and other activity tiles can be used to explore tessellations with simple polygon tiles. Pentaplex produces variations on the aperiodic sets of Penrose tiles; Kadon Enterprises has several tiling puzzles; Tessera (Damert Company) has 8 different bugs that fit together in many different ways.

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    Created: Sep 18 1996 --- Last modified: Thu Dec 5 15:57:58 1996