Islamic Architecture

Junior (Age 9 – 12)

Curriculum Goal

Junior: Algebra

  • Create and translate repeating, growing, and shrinking patterns using various representations, including tables of values, graphs, and, for linear growing patterns, algebraic expressions and equations.


  • Whole-class discussion followed by individual exploratory activity of math and cultural art.


  • Historical background information on Islamic architecture (Appendix A)
  • Triangle grid paper (Appendix B)
  • Stencil shapes (Appendix C)
  • Pencils, markers, pencil crayons


  • Provide students with a historical background on Islamic architecture and have them bring in examples.
  • Review related mathematical concepts – patterns, tessellations, rotations/turns, translation, and symmetry.
  • Explain that students will be creating their own interpretations of Islamic art and architecture – the infinite pattern – using grid paper.
    • Students can trace the stencil shapes or simply use them to generate ideas.
    • As students are working, show pictures of Islamic art and play music from Turkey, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, or other countries where the designs can be found.
    • Encourage students to make personal connections to both the art they see and their own work by asking questions:
      • Have you seen these patterns in our neighbourhood?
      • Do you recognize the shapes that make up various pieces of art? Do you notice any connections between the shapes? How do they fit together?
      • How can some of the shapes create others?
    • Discuss their art pieces and what inspired them.
Islamic tiling pattern


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