How to use the Pattern Blocks Program
Copyright 1997/2001 Arcytech. All rights reserved.
This program is pretty easy to use. As you can see from the panel below, the colored shapes on the left, are the pattern blocks or manipulatives which can be clicked on to magically make new shapes. This shapes can then be dragged into the working area. There is no limit as to how many shapes you can make and drag out.
To get rid of any the shapes, once selected, you can drag them right into the recycling bin on the lower left corner.
The shapes selected for this version of the program are the standard sizes and types used commonly as pattern blocks. A short description follows:
Let's now describe the tools or icons at the top of the panel. These are used to change the action that you get from clicking at the mouse. Another way to describe this is to say that you change the mode of the program. The following table describes the three modes available:
The last thing that needs description is the broom . You click on the broom to clear at once all the shapes from the working area. Rest assured that they also get recycled, just like that individual ones that you can recycle yourself.
A Few More Comments on Rotation: All rotations are in 60 degrees increments. A full rotation or a complete circle has 360 degrees or 6 times 60 degrees. That is why each shape can rotate up to six times before it will go back to its original orientation.
Can you guess why all the shapes rotate by 60 degrees? Why not 30 or 90? The whole idea is to rotate them such that they fit nicely into the other shapes when you overlay them. Both 30 and 90 would leave the shapes in an orientation that couldn't be arranged nicely. 60 Degrees happens to be the magic number.
And the final question, why is it that the triangle seems to only rotate into two orientations rather than the six that it is supposed to be? And what about the hexagon? It doesn't seem to rotate at all? Can you think why? This has to do with what is called properties, and it is based on the precise location where their vertices are located and how symmetrical the shapes (or the location of the vertices) are. You could say that that is the way the shapes work when rotated 60 degrees. It is an intrinsic property of the shapes.
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