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Quiz: Tessellate This!
by Staff
Tessellations pop up everywhere once you know what you're looking for. You can find them under microscopes, radiating from sunflowers and even in the hallowed halls of art museums. What can you tell us about these awesome repeating patterns?

Let's kick off this quiz with a little etymology. The word "tessellation" derives from the word for what?

  • A tiny constellation
  • A small mosaic tile
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Tessellations and polygons need one another like popcorn needs butter. What's a polygon again?

  • Any two-dimensional, closed shape with three straight sides or more
  • Any two-dimensional, closed shape with four straight sides or more
  • A polygon? Isn't that another name for a pentagon?

Which of the following would NOT be an example of a tessellation?

  • A honeycomb
  • A rack of billiard balls
  • A grid

If you head into the wild, you'll find that some animals incorporate tessellations on their skin. What would NOT qualify as a tessellation?

  • Zebra stripes
  • Turtle shells
  • Crocodile scutes

If you're devoted to this hobby, you encounter tessellations all the time.

  • Rock climbing
  • Baking
  • Quilting

What sport likes tessellations so much that it plastered one on its ball?

  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Skee-ball. Of course.

If you're going to wow everyone with your knowledge of tessellations, you'll want to mention this famous 14th century palace that's renowned for its incorporation of intricate tessellated patterns. What's it called?

  • The Alhambra
  • Windsor Castle
  • Castle Frankenstein

OK, now you know what the famous landmark is called, but can you tell us where it's located?

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Egypt
  • Spain

Which famous artist featured tessellations heavily in his work?

  • Pablo Picasso
  • M.C. Escher
  • Claude Monet

In what country was M.C. Escher born?

  • The Netherlands
  • The United States
  • Belgium

What was M.C. Escher's connection to the Alhambra?

  • It inspired him to take up tessellations.
  • He helped design it.
  • No connection at all. We're tricky like that.

Enough with the easy questions. Let's get into the nitty-gritty of tessellation. Which of the following regular polygons does NOT tessellate with itself in two dimensions?

  • Square
  • Pentagon
  • Equilateral triangle

Can you tessellate a plane by combining regular and semiregular polygons?

  • Yes
  • No

Is it true that any four-sided polygon will tessellate?

  • Yes, if placed back-to-back
  • Yes, under any circumstances
  • No, that's crazy talk.

When you're talking tessellations, a wallpaper group is another name for a two-dimensional repetitive pattern. How many are there?

  • 37
  • 17
  • 7

How many wallpaper groups can you glimpse in the mosaics of the Alhambra?

  • 13
  • 1
  • 17

Which of the following is NOT an example of a Voronoi-like tessellation?

  • Soap bubbles in a foam
  • Lichen on a rock
  • Chipped beef on toast

Which of the following is NOT another name for a Voronoi tessellation?

  • Dirichlet tessellation
  • Thiessen polygons
  • Archimedean tessellation

What kind of polygons do you get with a Delaunay tessellation?

  • Skinny squares
  • Fat triangles
  • Rotund rhomboids

Why might a mathematician or statistician find Delaunay tessellations useful?

  • Estimating an answer when a full calculation is impossible
  • Testing for homoscedasticity
  • Coming up with an equitable way to divide a pizza