A tessellation is a pattern made up of one or more shapes, completely covering a surface without any gaps or overlaps.

Tessellations are sometimes called tilings. Tessellations are evident in the art of M.C. Escher, in crystal growth in nature, and in some mathematical endeavors.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about tessellations.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about tessellations.

The Escher Museum in the Netherlands
Escher in Het Paleis opened in November 2002. Since then more than 70,000 visitors each year have passed through its doors. The Escher collection belonging to The Hague Gemeentemuseum forms the museum’s core.
The Official M.C. Escher Web site
On this website you can find information about the use of M.C. Escher's work, a short biography, news, bibliography, links and some fun stuff like a Virtual Ride through some of his works.
This website is a great place to begin learning about how to tessellations. It is written for students.

Back to Top


People To See

M.C. Escher
Article on the mathematical art of M.C. Escher, with emphasis on inspiring the student to see mathematics with fresh eyes.
Tessellation Town on Tile Island
The learner manipulates tiles to create a town leading to an understanding of tessellations.

Back to Top


Things To Do

Printable Tessellation Page
Print out this paper for students to investigate tessellation patterns.
Online puzzels with pieces that are all the same shape.
Combine tessellations and geometry. This activity takes you through the steps of using the Mecc software, TesselMania.

Back to Top


Teacher Resources

Back to Top



  • Ernst, Bruno. The Magic Mirror of M.C. Escher. Stradbroke: Tarquin, c1985.
  • Escher, M. C. The Graphic Work: Introduced and Explained by the Artist. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994.
  • Escher, M. C. Escher on Escher: Exploring the Infinite. New York : H.N. Abrams, 1989.
  • Escher, M. C. M. C. Escher: Twenty-nine Master Prints. New York: Abrams, 1983, c1981.
  • Escher, M. C. The Magic of M.C. Escher. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
  • M.C. Escher: His life and Complete Graphic Work, With a Fully Illustrated Catalog. New York: Abradale Press/Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1992.
  • Sachs, Michael S. The Pop-up book of M. C. Escher. Petaluma, Calif. : Pomegranate Artbooks, c1991.
  • Schattschneider, Doris. Visions of Symmetry: Notebooks, Periodic Drawings, and Related Work of M.C. Escher. New York: W.H. Freeman, c1990.
  • Schattschneider, Doris. M.C. Escher Kaleidocycles. Corte Madera, Calif. : Pomegranate Artbooks, 1987.