A #MathArtChallenge Update. Goal: Day 100

Welcome to Day 50.

This thing has brought ME so much joy, and I hope it’s brought some to you, too. I am just tickled at how this silly thing I started has grown. I love seeing that other folk (some I’ve never interacted with at all) have posted their own #mathartchallenge-s, and it is a highlight of my day when, each night, I search the hashtag. There has yet to be a day when there isn’t something new you have created.

And, of course, it’s not accidental that this is happening when so many things in the world are overwhelming. That’s why this started. I wanted a way to connect with my students when I felt I was getting pulled apart from them. I figured they’d check an instagram page more quickly than they’d check google classroom. I hope it’s understood that I don’t bring math art to everyone to downplay or ignore the pandemic or to distract from the deep inequities we’re seeing it expose. I’m bringing it because I deeply believe that we have to have joy around to help, even in a tiny way, counteract the horrible things in the world, even as we work to fix them. 

The only downside (to the Math Art Challenge) from my end is that I don’t personally have the time to linger over the challenges that I’d like to, but the trade-off, for now, is worth it to me. It has long been obvious to me that math is beautiful and deeply intertwined with art, but I get regular posts from folk saying it had never occurred to them. I’m ever so glad to be spreading that obvious-to-me truth, especially if it’s not so obvious to everyone else.

By no means do I want this thing to “stop” at any point. I’m hoping that long after I cease posting daily challenges, folk circle back to any of the ones I have posted and find something new. Or that y’all just post your own whenever they come up. (Thanks, Squidge!) That said, I think I will have to stop at some point. So I am setting the admittedly arbitrary, but still quite satisfying goal of reaching day 100. We’re half-way there. It may turn out that days 70-100 are just different versions of origami, knots or islamic geometry (I’d be fine with that), but I’m confident I can seek out enough new things to fill those days. You can, of course, offer suggestions here.

Some folk have posted their own challenges and I absolutely LOVE that. Some I fully  intend to use in later days (Mark Kaercher posted George Hart’s Card construction on Tuesday, and that, along with several more George Hart creations, are in my list somewhere in the day 60-70 range). But the beauty of this thing is that almost no one can keep up doing every challenge every day, so just play when you can. Almost everything has been posted somewhere else sometime before, so I hope no one feels any time pressure to engage. I love that folk post their versions of a challenge from years ago (several of you had this with the origami firework). The whole point of the thing is to play. It brings me great joy that there are #mathartchallenge conversations and tangents I find that have no connection to me. Feels like I’ve let this thing loose in the world and it’s taking its own shape.

But my goal is to post a total of 100 math art creations for you all. Many are still low-tech, but some are (and are going to be) a little more specialized. I hope that if those tickle you, you can tuck them away for a time when you have the energy, materials, and enthusiasm to tackle them. When I’m all done, I’ll circle back to those I want to linger on, and will return to some projects I’ve semi-abandoned (my knots! I’m coming back to you, I swear!). Then you go wherever you want with it.

#MathArtChallenge Day 50: Chair Fractals

Chair fractal

The Challenge: Make a chair fractal (That link will take you to the originators blog post about it. Seriously, go. It’s GREAT.)

Materials Needed: paper, pencil
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: fractals, geometry, symmetry

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#MathArtChallenge Day 48: Squidge’s Challenge


The Challenge:

Materials Needed: Paper, pencil, colors
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, counting, geometry, lines, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge Day 47: Origami Cube with Windows

The Challenge: Fold an origami cube with windows. Possibly make multiple. (This could be a great collaborative activity for a class!)

Materials needed: 12 pieces of paper, cut to rectangles with a 1:2 ratio.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, geometry, origami, sequences, symmetry, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge Day 46: Origami Firework – Yami Yamauchi

gif of origami firework

(You may have picked up on this, but I tend to do the more involved things on the weekends when I have a bit more time. This one was HONESTLY pretty reasonable until the last step, which took me about 5 finicky minutes to get together. YOU CAN DO THIS. And it is SO SATISFYING when it’s finally together.)

The Challenge: Fold yourself an origami firework.

Materials Needed: 12 congruent paper squares, patience.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, orgiami, symmetry, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge Day 45: The Lotfallah Mosque Dome

The Challenge: With a compass or with tech like Geogebra or Desmos Geometry, to recreate the Lotfallah Mosque Dome design.

Materials Needed: compass, straight edge, colors. You could also use graphing software for this.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, circles, geometric construction, geometry, Islamic geometry, lines, polygons, proportions/ratios, symmetry, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge Day 43: Sprouts!

A completed game of sprouts.

The Challenge Game: This one really isn’t a challenge – it’s a sweet game, you should play with whomever you’re sequestered at home with. Or by yourself. I clearly played myself.

Materials Needed: writing utensil, writing surface
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: graph theory, proportions/ratios, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge Day 42: Origami Octahedron

An origami octahedron.

The Challenge: Fold you own octahedron from 6 square pieces of paper.

Materials Needed: 6 square pieces of paper.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, geometric construction, geometry, origami, symmetry, vertices/intersections

Continue reading “#MathArtChallenge Day 42: Origami Octahedron”