Sunday, March 30, 2008

Math with scissors

The other day I visited Bailey's class and did a math demonstration. See my math blog to see a complete description of what I did, including pictures! Basically, I showed them a Moebius strip and some other "shapes" that I made out of paper, then I cut them in half. When I asked them what I would get when I cut the Moebius strip they all said "two Moebius strips." Well, that's not what you get! You get one strip, that pretty naturally falls into a heart shape. They were blown away. "Wow! you're a magician!" some of them said.

When we moved on to other shapes that I was going to cut and I asked them to predict what I would get, they went wild. If you can get a heart from cutting a Moebius strip, then maybe anything is possible. Their guesses were wide ranging: from socks to snow men. It was great fun. They had no inhibitions. That's what's so great about kids at that age. None of them were scared of getting the wrong answer. They just let their imaginations run wild.

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