This is primarily a design project that focuses on composition,
color harmonies and geometric shapes. The geometric shapes (squares
and rectangles) are actually also cleverly disguised (!) Algebra
Tiles. This allows us at the conclusion of the project and critique
to translate student designs into math expressions. The math needed
for this project is Elementary Algebra.
Algebra tiles appeal to me because they can be
very helpful to people who have difficulty with algebra. I never
did particularly well in Algebra and I just figured I couldn't do
it. Variables didn't make sense to me. I wanted them to have a specific
value that didn't change. Sounds silly, I guess, but x and y or
a, b, and c didn't mean anything to me. I didn't understand what
to do with them. THEN I discovered Algebra Tiles! Even though they
still represented variables the shapes were concrete, I could touch
them, move them around, color them! And something clicked in my
brain. I hope that this activity will help algebra "click" for some
of your students!
Instructor Sheet and Student Handout
