Archive for the ‘symmetry’ Category


Maths Mystery Box 10: LETHAL

February 13, 2015

Maths Mystery Box 10

Middle School Maths Challenge

Symmetry, geometry plus guts and determination.

Make a paper plane that can fly as high as a 5-story building and test it.

You need:

– Half A4 sheet

– Scissors

– A rubber band

The physics of paper is complex. Folder paper is very strong. Here students create a world record folding a piece of paper 13 times.

Crumpled paper is also very strong. Crumple a piece and try and flatten it. More here.

10 Lethal Paper Plane  1

From Instructables blog

10 Lethal Paper plane 2

10 Lethal Paper Plane 3

image 4Test it but be careful you could take out an eye.


Now for the BIG challenge:

The above paper plane has 5 wing folds. Can you make a bigger paper plane with more folds. For instance, you could try an A4 sheet.

More from Instructables here:



Outdoor Maths Adventures: Grade 3 – 5

June 30, 2014

Outdoor Maths 1 Mathspig 2

This fab idea comes from Juliet Robertson, an outdoor education consultant in Scotland. Her blog Creative star learning is one of the most inspiring outdoor maths blogs you will find.

Outdoor Maths 2 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 3 mathspig

Outdoor Maths 4 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 5 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 6 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 7 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 8  Mathspig

Check out Mathpig’s protractor joke here.

Outdoor Maths 9 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 10 Mathspig

Another fab idea from Juliet Robertson.



6 Bring on the Bucky Balls

April 9, 2013

Maths-is-Awesome Activity

Bring on the Bucky Balls

Skills: Geometry, polygons, measurement  …. and creativity.

Levels: Junior School & Middle School

In this activity students will create their own, preferably life-sized cardboard igloo. Igloo structures can be complicated or simple and in this project students must design and then build an igloo using a standard hexagon. Here are some inspiring designs.


The first igloo was built using computer generated constructive geometry. It uses a basic – but distorted – hexagonal cardboard unit and was built by by the students of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Porto. You can see the construction method below. More info here.


The next cardboard igloo is based entirely on circles. It was designed by  students of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. More info here.

99.2 Cardboard Igloo

The following cardboard igloo based on triangles looks simple but has a very strong construction. More info here.

99.5 triangle igloo99.6 tirangle igloo construct

But the Granddaddy of the geometric or geodesic dome was Buckminster Fuller, who has been honoured by having a carbon-based nano-molecule named after him. They’re called Bucky Balls. If you look at the geodesic dome below you can see the HEXAGONAL PATTERN also visible int he Bucky Balls.

99.8 Buckminster Fuller99.9 Bucky balls


9 Build Your Own Battleship

April 9, 2013

Maths-is-Awesome Activity

Build Your Own Battleship

Skills: geometry, measuring, angles, construction and engineering

Years: Middle School

You will find your inspiration here:


Different maths classes build their own cardboard boats. Call for volunteers  and then stage a race in a local pool.

Heaps of fun.

Good PR for maths. And some schools do it already.


10 DYI Construction Set

April 8, 2013

Maths is Awesome Activity

DYI Construction Set

Skills: Geometry, measurement, symmetry, area, angles.

Year Level: Year 7

You will find more info here.

95 Happy Hooligans Construction Set

This idea is gobsmacking. We live in a consumer world so the thought of making your own construction set is foreign to us.

Building your own cardboard construction set involves:

* Lots of maths

and if

* Every pupil made 20 construction pieces now you can make something huge for a maths display. eg. giant parabola, π, √2


think really BIG.

95.4 zimoun_zweifel_200_motors_2000_cardboard_elements_01_800x450px

More info here at Building Blogspot.



11 Fashion Statement Geometry for Hipsters

April 8, 2013

Maths-is-Awesome Activity

Fashion Statement Geometry for Hipsters

Skills: Geometry, measurement, polyhedrons, symmetry and creativity

Year Level: Year 7-9

Ask students to design and make a GEOMTRIC FASHION STATEMENT. This could involve a dress, hat or hair. Then they stage run a MATHS FASHION parade. The point is the fashion statement must involve specific maths such as geometry or  trigonometry, calculus, quadratic equations … any maths you like.

Here from Lancia Trend Visions is the work of Amila Hrustic, a fashion design student in Sarajevo. These samples come from  her “Plato’s Collection” inspired by the idea of Platonic solids. Her collection includes dress based on tetrahedrons, cubes, octahedrons, dodecahedrons, icosahedrons.

94 Geom Fashion 194 Geom FAshion 294 Geom FAshion 3


12. Maths Warriors

April 8, 2013

The Maths-is-Awesome Activity:

Maths Warriors

Skills:Geometry, measurement, cylinders, area, symmetry and creativity.  

Year Level: Year 4 – whatever

93 box wars 4

Ask students to build their own cardboard armour and helmet. Give prizes in the category of Scariest, most Mathematically-Complex, Star Wars Potential, Most Historical, Most Creative and any other category that crops up. You can source cardboard from your nearest Self-Storage Warehouse.

93 box wars 5

Mathspig was at Womadelaide Music Festival 2013 and saw the Box Wars at work. The Box Wars guys, Joss, Josh and Hoss, started in Melbourne and now travel to Music Festivals around Australia. Boxwars builds sculptures, armour, props and sets and airplanes , tanks, cannons and the rest.

They stage battles of destruction … but destruction isn’t always the outcome.

93 box wars 3

If you want to interest kids especially boys 8 – 12 years of age in maths, get them building armour.

Mathspig saw dozens of them at WOMAD and they so loved their armour they wouldn’t take it off in 39Cº.

93 Fantasy armor pattern


Sometimes it is just lots and lots of fun. Here is a recently staged BOX WARS in Canberra. You only need watch a few minutes of the video to get the idea.

Box Wars Canberra