Islamic Architecture

Created by Alex Hart, Emily Truant, and Shannon Wrighte
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Curriculum – Patterning and Algebra; Visual Art

Patterning and Algebra: describe and represent relationships in growing and shrinking patterns, and investigate repeating patterns involving rotations.

Visual Art, Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts: demonstrate an understanding of a variety of art forms, styles and techniques from the past, present and their sociocultural and historical contexts.


To explore patterns in art.


  • Triangle grid paper – whole page or half
  • Pencils, markers, pencil crayons
  • 10 shapes to use as a stencil or pieces to generate ideas


  • Provide students with some historical background information regarding Islamic architecture (Appendix A).
  • Review mathematical concepts related – pattern, tessellations, rotation/turn, translation.


  • Explain that the students will be creating their own interpretations of Islamic art and architecture – the infinite pattern – using the grid paper (Appendix B).


  • Students can use the shape pieces (Appendix C) as support to trace or to see the relationships between the shapes or may simply free hand the project.
  • As students are working, show pictures of Islamic art ( to provide inspiration and encourage them to make personal connections to both the art they see and their own work by asking questions such as:
  • Has anyone seen patterns such as these within our neighbourhood
  • Does anyone recognize the shapes that make up various pieces of art?
  • Has anyone noticed any connections between the various shapes? How do they fit together?
  • How can some of the shapes create others?


  • Have a discussion about their art pieces and about what inspired them.

Possible Extensions

  • Show students a slideshow of examples of the architecture and design.
  • To inspire students as they work, play calm music from Turkey, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, or other countries where the designs can be found.
  • Have students bring in examples of Islamic architecture.

*Download the lesson to see all appendices.