Ancient Grecian Urn

Grecian UrnJust imagine all the engaging math lessons this beautiful Grecian Urn can inspire!

Look at all the patterns on its surface. How many do you count? There are lots of geometric shapes making up the patterns. I see triangles, rhombi, and squares. I also see some funny shapes that have one curved side, like the people kneeling, and some shapes that have lots of sides and go on and on and on all around the urn in the part that looks like a maze. What names would you give these shapes?

Notice the cracks covering the urn’s surface. It is very old, and was buried underground for many years, probably thousands! The archaeologists, people who study human history, who found it had to put it back together, piece by piece, like a big 3D puzzle. Do you think it was tricky? I think the patterns might have given them a few clues!

I don’t think those patterns were easy to carve, though. Back when this urn was decorated, the design had to be carefully thought out, drawn, and measured, all by hand! The Ancient Greeks only had simple tools to help them, not powerful electric tools and computer programs like we have today. Do you think you could plan a design for an urn without any technology? Give it a try!

Where else do you see patterns in the world around you? Dishes are still decorated with patterns that go all the way around! And 9’s favorite sweater has a repeating pattern of black and white stripes, just like the stripes on this urn. What other patterns do you use or see every day?