Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can You Make a Sphere From 2-D Shapes?

This is a question I posed to my class this week.

Our current unit's central idea is: We are from all over the world. Now we live together in Sendai. I wanted to do more art projects this year with my class (with art being the traditional definition) and I thought that linking Sendai's famous Tanabata Festival to math would be a thought-provoking project for the class.

Since tanabata decorations are streamers with a ball on top (I thought they were shooting stars, but apparently they are flowers) my idea was to have the students make it all.

One group started by making circles, having mistaken a circle for a ball, or sphere. But it was a really cool pattern. So I reminded them what the project was again and sent them on their way.

I went over to the other group (who were protecting their sphere like it was something out of Skunk Works)  where I found them working on good ideas, but they were all working separately. I understand that some  people work better alone, but I want these kids to build their collaboration skills, so I encouraged them to work together.

I went back to the other group to find that they started using hexagons. Wow, I thought. It is like a soccer ball. Thinking that they were thinking the same thing, I asked why they were using hexagons. Their answer was that they resembled circles. I really liked how they are putting trapezoids together to make hexagons as well as the rhombi. 

They attempted to roll the hexagon sheet into a ball, but it collapsed on itself.

I think we will have to use some different materials.

Just seen on T.V. -
Doubling the size of a wheel makes it twice as heavy.
Really? I have to test that property.

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