Friday, October 1, 2010

Spirolaterals...No Name the Same!

Spirolaterals are geometric designs that are created from number sequences through the iterative procedures...right, down, left, up...repeated over and over again until your pencil meets up to your starting place. This activity ties to symmetry, transformations, patterns, rules, and coordinate geometry...and the students love it. I ask each student to take their name and transpose into numbers using this chart:
 A-J-S = 1
B-K-T = 2
C-L-U = 3
D-M-V = 4
E-N-W = 5
F-O-X = 6
G-P-Y = 7
H-Q-Z = 8
 I-R = 9

On a sheet of graph paper have students pick a starting point and move the first number of units to the right. Turn 90 degrees clockwise and move the second number of units down. Turn and move the third number left. Turn again and move up. Keep going and see what occurs. You can have students identify ordered pairs, rotations, reflections, translations, etc. Just lots of fun. I went thru 200 sheets of graph paper for just 60 Algebra 1 students in a day. They loved creating them and trying out different words besides their name. Here are a few samples that are hanging in the room now. This is a great way to get ready to start working with the coordinate plane.


  1. That is simply awesome! I will be using this later in the year!

  2. thanks and this was very useful!!!