Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pretty Polyhedrons

We have been playing a lot with shapes lately at our house. My Mother sent us a great 3 dimensional thinking game called Trucky 3 by Smart Games. You load different combinations of blocks into the trucks starting out simple and getting more challenging as you progress through the accompanying book. I was surprised by how well A worked thorugh some of the puzzles, so I thought we would give the Paper Plate Polyhedrons from Disney Family Fun a try.

First we painted the 20 paper plates needed for an Icosahedron - beautiful math is a lot more fun.

The next day I created a template of an equal lateral triangle to fold along. Technically the angle in each corner of the triangle should be 60 degrees, but I just eyeballed it. It only took about 15 minutes to fold all the plates, probalby a lot faster than if I had been able to coax the girls into helping.

Since the day was unseasonably warm I took the project outside. I thought for sure the stapler would have gotten the girls interested in the project, but they ran around while I assembled the first portion of the polyhedron - a pentagon of 5 plates stapled together.

At this point G stopped by and thought the pentagon made a nice hat. I snapped a picture then tried to lure A over to join in, but she was not woed by the mathmatical hat. G wondered off and it was just me and the plates again. Such a cool project and so little interest from the kids so far. But I try not to push, so they enjoyed the warm day and slugs while I stapled.

To create the icosahedron I assembled 2 pentagons for the top and bottom and a row of the remaining plates which would connect the pentagons. To make the ball you should have 20 plates total. Make sure you count before you start to assemble. Note there are only 19 plates in this photo, causing a bit of a problem. I got to the end and the polyhedron just wouldn't close. I suspected I was short a plate or 2 , but it's really hard to cound the sides on a round object. My husband was smirking at me as I turned my shape around and a round to trying to get a good count. After removing a couple of staples and adding a plate it all worked out.

 Once the polyhedron was complete I suddenly had the girls full attention. G wanted to bounce it (which by the way I don't recomend) and A wanted to make one of her own. Finally this is what I had been hoping for. I got out another stack of plates and folded some for the girls to play with. They used markers to decorate the plates and then tried holding them together in different ways.

A decided she wanted to make a diamond shape. She thought we should staple 3 plates together, so I held while she stapeled. This created a little pyramid. She made another just the same then we stapled the two together.

Not exactly a diamond, but she was satisfied and I was happy that A was thinking about shapes in all 3 dimensions.

The polyhedrons turned out so lovely we hung them in the corner of the living room, I think we just need to make 2 or 3 more. A bit of an addictive project... what other polyhedrons can we create and what would they look like smaller out of pretty scrap book paper or out of transparent velum. Addictive math is probably a good thing.

How do you play with math?


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1 comment:

  1. So cool! My girls would love these! Thanks for linking up to Fun Stuff Fridays!