Fractiles are versatile geometric toys made of magnetic diamond shaped tiles.
I first learned about Fractiles and Zometool in the fall of 1997 at a Sacred Geometry conference in Boulder, Colorado.
While Zometool is primarily a 3D modeling system, Fractiles are generally used in just 2D. Accordingly, they make a great introduction to interesting ‘flat’ geometries with negligible technical background. Since the diamond-shaped tiles are arranged on a flat surface, they take up very little space, which means that they are very portable, even when assembled in any of a gazillion patterns.
What makes the combinations of these 3 diamond shaped patterns so versatile (and unique)? The angles of the rhombic shapes are all multiples of 1/14th of a circle, so one can complete a radially arranged design, and/or make amazing tiling patterns, or just play around with very aesthetically enjoyable possibilities with the permutations.
I’ve enjoyed playing — I’m just a big kid — with Fractiles for many years. I don’t even need the excuse of having younger family members visiting to bring them out and design elegant patterns with these unique magnetic tiles in 3 diamond shapes. Here are a few examples of the endless patterns that can be made in a few minutes.
Here’s a list of features from the Fractiles website:
- Award-Winning Fractiles-7 received a Parents’ Choice Award for play and educational value, quality and design.
- Versatile: Use these wonderful little diamond-shaped tiles to easily create seven-fold snowflakes, starbursts, spirals, bouquets of flowers, swarms of fireflies, beautiful mandalas, butterflies, spaceships, 3-D illusions, much more.
- Elegant Geometry: The versatile elegant geometry allows anyone to create endless varieties of imaginative and beautiful designs. Designs range from very simple to infinitely complex. One can spend tireless hours discovering new levels of play and design.
- Infinite Possibilites: Puzzle with millions of solutions — limitless combinations and diverse designs.
- Wide Appeal: Fractiles Fans range from young children to seniors, from those with no math background to advanced math researchers.
- Easy to Manipulate: The MAGNETIC tiles stay put – yet slide easily on their specially textured board – a helpful feature for anyone with fine motor skill problems. Magnetic Fractiles-7 is a great travel toy!
- Builds Pattern Recognition Skills: Pattern recognition skills are key to learning. Lack of pattern recognition skills is linked to learning disabilities Fractiles-7 is so much fun you may not even notice how regular play increases your pattern recognition skills.
“Fractiles is so popular with my first graders, that we have to have a sign up for equal turns!” – teacher Marilyn Bowker
“My 7th and 8th graders live for free time so they can play with Fractiles.” – Sandra Bullard, The Prentice School, “Where Children with Dyslexia Learn to Learn”
- Ethical: Production Fractiles is manufactured in the USA with no child labor or exploitation.