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In this activity, students are given the dimensions of a floor and those of a Japanese tatami mat. They are challenged to determine the maximum number of ways the mats can be arranged to cover the floor. This activity, part of the Figure This! collection of challenges emphasizing practical mathematics, explains the importance of geometric shapes to architects, pipe fitters, and biologists. Students are encouraged to begin the problem by sketching some arrangements that could cover the floor. The solution offers a diagram of eight potential arrangements. Related questions ask students to use the Fibonacci sequence to complete a table that shows how many arrangements could be used to cover floors of different areas. Answers to all questions and links to resources are included. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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