Pipe cleaners have so many uses and one of the best ways to use them is to make bubbles. This week I encourage learners to build mathematical structures with pipe cleaners, straws, string, or other waterproof toys to create beautiful structures. I used Zometools in some of my classes as well, and they were a big hit. If this is being done inside, then a fan can be a great tool with a small tub of soap. I did this in my Village Home classes from a few years ago and it was great for 5yrs to 16yrs to adults. Diluted dish-soap worked well for us, but some folks have special formulas for bubble solutions to make them last longer.
Try to create cubes, pyramids, octahedrons, dodecahedrons, cylinders, and two dimensional portals for bubbles. What is so cool about bubbles is that they can fill in the sides/faces for the skeletons that are created, and yet curved bubbles emerge when they exit the structure. Things to discuss would be volumes, vertices, faces, paths, hypercubes, ellipsoids, air currents vs bubble size, etc..
Leonardo da Vinci was an amazing mathematician, inventor and artist. His sketches in The Divine Proportion are a wonderful collection to study. Spacial awareness and being able to draw what we see is a skill that can be mastered through practice.
This week, I encourage learners to sketch polyhedra from cubes to tetrahedrons to dodecahedrons. Use charcoal, pencils or watercolors to create works of art. You can model with clay, paper, glue and sticks, or building toys and then sketch. Play with various forms of lighting and shading. Move beyond the numbers this week and look for math in the objects/polyhedra around you.
You can combine this study with history and architecture. Go out and look for polyhedra around you. Can you make a pyramid scene? What is a soccer ball? What is the shading like at different times of day for a favorite building? Are there planes of symmetry for your sketch? How many vertices are there?
Octahedrons are such a fun shape. This week we are going to learn an important fold in origami that can be used to make so many mathematical shapes, puzzles and works of art. We are going to learn Sonobe. Below is a video of how to create the basic fold and then assemble the octahedron. You will need 12 sheets of origami paper. I have done this project with 7yrs and up. My high school students have folded in teams to make larger polyhedra. In future weeks we will be making other structures and sonobe will be an option.