Frieze Patterns Lesson 2: Frieze Patterns

Australian curriculum number (ACMMG114)

Lesson abstract

This task introduces friezes with examples from furnishings in Parliament House, decorative house railings and tyres. Students identify the different symmetries that are present in the frieze patterns by turning, flipping and rotating images or using a mirror. Students then group frieze patterns based on their symmetries using a table. They consolidate their learning by looking at what would happen if one panel in a wrought iron ‘lace’ railing were installed the wrong way around.  Some students may classify tyre treads. A class display of friezes is begun.

Mathematical purpose (for students)

We can investigate the symmetry of shapes and patterns by flipping, sliding and turning them or reflecting them.

Mathematical purpose (for teachers)

This lesson extends the learning from lesson 1 by introducing the idea of a frieze: a pattern created by repeated translation. Students group friezes according to the symmetry in the pattern, and find examples of all seven possible symmetry combinations. Through physical manipulation of the images, students will increase their capacity to visualise the effects of rotation and reflection transformations. The consolidation task on wrought iron lace links everyday language (e.g. back-to-front) with the language of transformations.