will design either individually or with a partner, a tile floor of a
predetermined size using pattern blocks. If you do not have pattern
blocks, give each group of students the Pattern Blocks
activity sheet. This will also add to the design element of the
activity because students can color in the shapes to suit their design
scheme. Students may alternatively use the Patch Tool.
Students will need The Cost of a Great Looking Floor
activity sheet to record their bids. Otherwise, the parameters of the
lessons can be modified to suit your students' needs and goals. Refer
to the lists below when designing the lesson for your class.
The following are important design parameters for this lesson:
- Design team consists of one or two designers
- Design must use a minimum of 3 out of the 6 different tile shapes/colors
- All tiles must be fit so that there is no space between shapes and shapes do not overlap.
- Interior tiles must be whole tiles. The virtual cutting of
tiles to fit within the floor boundaries is only allowed along the
edges, which is true for most floor installations.
- Tiles are sold in full boxes only and may not be shared with
another student and/or project. For example, hexagon tiles are sold 4
to a box so even if you only need one you will need to purchase an
- Labor is calculated according to the tiles purchased, not the
tiles used. Since materials are paid for by the customer whether
installed or not, any extra tiles are the property of the customer and
left on the job site.
- Students must submit design and bid document.
This group of design parameters can be modified to meet the needs of your students and to work within various time constraints:
- Students should come up with a design and estimate the cost for a 6-foot by 8-foot custom tile floor
- How student use edge tiles that are cut is a way that the
lesson can be differentiated. For lower level students you may want to
consider having them consider the remainder of a cut tile as waste. For
higher-level students you may want to have them problem solve how to
- Decide in advance if you want your students to color the
design to match the pattern blocks or if you want them to be able to
exercise creative freedom with color. Allowing students the option to
choose is another way to differentiate and meet the needs of your more
creative students while allowing less creative students the option of
using the block colors.
As you walk around assisting students, watch for overlapping tiles
in the design. If you notice this, ask them if there is another way
they could work their design to avoid overlapping tiles. You can share
with students the fact that contractors avoid overlapping which then
requires cutting the tile to create a flat surface. If you notice blank
spaces remind them that their design cannot contain any blank spaces
and ask what changes they could make to correct this problem.
Suggestions for Differentiation
Like ability grouping will allow for modification of design
requirements based on ability level. Mixed ability grouping where a
student with strength in artistic design is grouped with a student with
strength in mathematical calculations would allow both students to
succeed in their area of expertise while strengthening their area of
If you are not going to use partners for this activity you
might consider assigning different design criteria to different
students based on ability. For example, stronger students might be
challenged to use all 6 shapes where students who struggle with the
design might be given the option to use only two shapes. You can also
modify the size of the floor making it larger for students who work
quickly on this type of assignment and smaller for students who work