From: Lindsay
Grade: 6 student

Question: What is the word that means a shape repeated over and over again to make something like a quilt pattern?

Note: I'm pretty sure it is either a fractal or tesselation. Could it be that the pattern itself is a fractal but the entire quilt would be a tesselation?

Hi Lindsay,

The word TESSELLATION (note the correct spelling with double s and double l) refers to any arrangement of polygons fitting together without overlapping so as to cover the WHOLE plane (meaning without any gaps also). Tessellation has been used to refer to a covering of a line (with segments) and of space (with polyhedra). I suppose that it could be extended to allow fractal patterns, but then the definition would require technical details that I am not familiar with.

You can see some tessellations and instructions on how to make them in Tantalizing Tessellations!!

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