#MathArtChallenge 100: Balloon Polyhedra

In the first, allow me to thank each and every one of you who has participated in the #MathArtChallenge in the last few months. This is my “last” post. Meaning, I don’t promise to make more Math Art Challenges, but there’s always the chance that something will come up…

All of the #MathArtChallenge-s will continue to be up on this blog, and I really hope that you’ll make use of them in your classes or in your fun time or however brings you joy.

The Challenge: Today, you get Balloon Polyhedra. There’s actually several papers written about this, so go check them out.

Materials needed: Twisting balloons, pump, patience
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, arithmetics, counting, geometry, graph theory, polygons, polyhedra, symmetry, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge 99: Quilts & the Underground Railroad

A quilt containing 6 of the blocks mentioned below as having possibly been used as a code in the underground railroad.

The Challenge: Learn a bit about the code discussed below, and then have yourself or students create some or all of the quilt blocks discussed.

Materials needed: Certainly you can make these as actual quilt pieces. You can also just use a square piece of paper and work on construction within that using paper and pencil.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, arithmetic, geometry, philosophy on math, polygons, symmetry, tessellations.

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#MathArtChallenge 97: Tomoko Fusé’s Bird Tetrahedron Origami

The Challenge: Make an origami sculpture using Tomoko Fusé’s text Multidimensional Transoformations Unit Orgiami. (I used instructions on pgs 134, 138-139.)

Materials Needed: Paper (origami paper is handy, but any paper will work) and scissors/paper cutter.
Math Concepts: 3 dimensional building, angles, space filling, rotations, proportions

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#MathArtChallenge 96: Not so much rational tangles as… a 2 link challenge.

2 link knots
A grid arrangement of a variety of green and teal crocheted links.

The Challenge: How many 2 link knots can you find? See the examples above to help you get started.

Materials Needed: knot materials (these could be crocheted like I have, or shoe laces, or electrical cords which you can plug into themselves)
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: combinations & permutations, graph theory, knot theory, topology, vertices/intersections.

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#MathArtChallenge 95: Magic Squares

Overhead view of lego towers arranged in a 3×3 grid.

The Challenge: Create a magic square. Bonus points if you make it a physical thing.

Materials Needed: Legos, blocks or coins all work well for making these towers. Could also be pen/pencil & paper, of course.
Math Concepts: Algebra, arithmetic, counting, proportions/ratios, structure, sum of 1-n integers

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#MathArtChallenge 93: Archimedean Solids from Vertex descriptions


The Challenge: Using a vertex description, build yourself one, two… up to all 13 of the Archimedean solids.

Materials needed: Card stock and tape (painter’s tape is great, or masking. Other stuff will work, but I’ve had more success with the paper-y tapes.) OR Magnatiles, but those can get pretty pricey.
Math Concepts: structure, polyhedra, angles, 3D structure

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#MathArtChallenge 91: 3D Cube Cut-Outs

A potato cut in the shape of a letter A, with shadow behind it.

The Challenge: Find some materials that will allow you to create one of those beautiful 3D 3-letter (or shape? Follow your heart) cut-outs. I used a potato.

Materials Needed: Something you can cut up. Potatoes, crafting foam, apples… food, I think would work well here.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, geometry, perspective, polyhedra, symmetry

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#MathArtChallenge 90: Sand Piles

The Challenge: Explore a toppling sand pile.

Materials Needed: Paper, pencil, and probably a good eraser. You could also do this using a whiteboard or other writing surface.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: algebra, arithmetic, counting, fractals, functions isometric, proportions/ratios

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#MathArtChallenge 87: Burr Puzzle Origami

An origami stellated polyhedra made from origami

The Challenge: Fold yourself a 6 piece puzzle that comes together as a 3D star shape. You’ll need 6 pieces of paper.

Materials Needed: 6 square pieces of paper.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, geometry, origami, polygons, polyhedra, vertices.

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#MathArtChallenge 84: Tangrams

The Challenge: Get yourself a square of paper (or something else?) and cut yourself a set of tangrams. Then create away!

Materials Needed: Scissors, paper
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, geometry, lines, polygons, proportions/ratios, symmetry, tessellations

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