#MathArtChallenge 76: Decagon & Pride Flag

Here is my first attempt at a more thoughtful #mathartchallenge. Pushback, thoughts, additions you’d like to see all welcome. You can comment below, or here, or talk to/DM me on twitter.

June is Pride month. I try to always acknowledge and honor that in my classroom. Last year, I put up this display in my classroom window:

This year, it made sense to create a rainbow #mathartchallenge to post for my kids to see. Having seen pride flags with Black and Brown stripes, noting it as a nod to a more inclusive pride, I picked a decagon design that I wasn’t totally sure how to create from Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands , and voila.

Except, of course, that I messed up. I didn’t do my research. ANY research. The original rainbow flag is 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. There are new designs that include Black and Brown stripes, and as of 2018, designed by Daniel Quasar, there is this flag:

Daniel Quasar flag

This flag includes not just the Black and Brown stripes, but also nods to the transgender pride flag. You can read about it here. 

I also want to speak the names of Tony McDade, a Black trans man killed by police, and Nina Pop, a Black trans woman killed in her apartment, both within the last few weeks. 

When I posted my ill-informed rainbow, I hadn’t necessarily planned it to be a #mathartchallenge. However, seeing the collaboration of Tina Cardone and Xi Yu, I think it makes for a good exercise. If you follow the tweet, you can see their solution – the tutorial Xi refers to is also here.

You may also notice they actually tagged their creation with “Queer #BlackLivesMatter”, which I failed to do.

Here is a better version.

MAC 75 Decagon pride flag

Better, I think because it honors (as best I could match) the actual colors of the pride flag, including those represented by the transgender flag. Not great yet, because as any decagon has 10 parts, I just ran out of space for all the colors (an 11 sided shape is rather challenging to construct). I would like to note that in the trans flag, the white color represents gender neutral or non-defined gender. Given the white paper, it seemed the easiest shade to not include. By no means do I mean to exclude gender neutral or non-defined gender people in this representation.

If you choose to participate in this #mathartchallenge, here are some questions I’d like you to reflect on:

  • The larger shape here is a decagon (10 sided shape). Where else do you see the theme of 10 appear here?
  • How many? What did you count and how did you count it?
  • What angles are represented here?
  • What shapes do you see that are not decagons?
  • How do the shapes interact with each other? What can you say about the relationships between them?
  • Can you find an 11 sided design that would better represent Daniel Quasar’s 11 color-flag?
  • How do symbols, like flags, interact with identity at large? With your personal identity? What thoughts about representation are present or missing here?

#MathArtChallenge Day 28: Paper Tube Designs

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

Today, courtesy of the extraordinary Mark Kaercher:

 

#MathArtChallenge Day 27: Golden Icosahedron

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE: Create your very own Golden Rectangle Icosahedron!

(Yes, I absolutely meant “rectangle”, but twitter doesn’t give you an edit button.)

MATERIALS NEEDED: Cardboard, markers, scissors/box cutter, string/ribbon/thread

 

 

#MathArtChallenge Day 26: Golden Spiral

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE: Draw a golden spiral,

MATERIALS: Grid paper? Writing utensils.

Use grid paper. (Or not? Might be a neat wonky one if you don’t?)

Start with a 1×1 square and another next to it.

Using a 2 unit long side, create a 2×2 square.

Then a 3×3, etc.

When it’s as large as you like, draw connected quarter circles to form your spiral!

 

#MathArtChallenge Day 25: Tessellations

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE: Great your very own tessellation from a small piece of cardboard.

  1. Start with a square (Cereal or pop box cardboard works great) Mine was 2”x2”
  2. Cut a piece from one side and tape it to an adjacent side.
  3. Repeat for remaining 2 edges.
  4. Trace!

MATERIALS NEEDED: Pencil, paper, and cardboard from a cereal box or a pop box or something similarly thin but stiff enough to trace.

#MathArtChallenge Day 24: Polygon Midpoints

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE:

  1. Draw a polygon.
  2. Mark the midpoint of each side.
  3. Connect the midpoints of each side to make a new polygon.
  4. Repeat.

Don’t sleep on the quadrilaterals here. They do something rather surprising and beautiful!

MATERIALS NEEDED: Whatever you prefer!

2020-04-08 08.13.50

#MathArtChallenge Day 21: Agra Fort Islamic Design

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE: Create this design from the Agra Fort.

Day21 MAC still

MATERIALS NEEDED: If you have a compass, use this tutorial from Samira Mian. If you do not have a compass, you can use my instructions for making this from a regular grid below that.

Day21 MAC grid instructions

#MathArtChallenge Day 17: PERMUTOHEDRONS

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE: Create your very own order 4 Permutohedron (see video below).

MATERIALS NEEDED: Paper, pencil, patience, and if you want to go 3D, you sure can.

To see an answer, scroll down. (To not spoil the fun, you have to scroll down pretty far.)

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Here you go. This is a flattened version of the answer, but it’s really satisfying to find. If you were to build this in 3D you would get a truncated octahedron. Every permutation should be connected to 3 other permutations.

Day17 MAC SPOILER Answer

#MathArtChallenge Day 11: 8-Pointed Star

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

Note: This is a first foray for the #mathartchallenge into Islamic Geometry. I would be a fool to not take this opportunity to teach you about Samira Mian. Her online courses are fantastic, and her tutorials are great. So are is her instagram!

THE CHALLENGE: Construct an 8-pointed star, and possibly tile it?

MATERIALS NEEDED: Straight edge, writing utensils, paper, compass? (There are tutorials for both compass and no compasses below.)

Day11 MAC eight point star

 

 

 

#MathArtChallenge Day 8: Apollonian Gaskets

The #MathArtChallenge is just a fun, simple way to engage our brains during this time of unease. All tasks are low tech: paper, pencil, maybe string. Nothing fancy. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Post on social media with the hashtag #MathArtChallenge!

THE CHALLENGE: Draw a large shape. Then place a large circle inside that shape, touching the edges of the original shape. Then draw the next largest circle you can, and repeat drawing the next largest circle you can. (See video below for examples.)

MATERIALS NEEDED: Writing utensil, paper.

 

If you’re interested in some of the math behind this, this is a great article, featuring the work of mathematician Hee Oh.

Vi Hart also has a great video along these lines, demonstrating some serious doodle skills.