Saturday, May 23, 2015

15 piece tangram (more math from trash)

who: J0 and J2
what did I use: a postcard advertising some property for sale

Note: when I originally wrote this, J2 and J1 were busy doing something else. By the time I had half composed this post, J2 had noticed what I was doing and started playing with the tangrams again. More evidence that the easiest way to get kids into an activity is just to have it out and available or doing it yourself.

15 piece tangram

In Bangkok, we get a lot of junk mail touting property viewings. One postcard was just the right size and durability to use for a 15 piece tangram set. I would encourage you to make and play with your own 15 piece set (or a 7 piece, if you don't already have one).

In fact, you should do what I didn't do this time: work with your kids to cut apart the original square or have them make their own sets by themselves. Even just following the diagram is a geometry experience as well as an exercise in scaling.  Our card was 15cm on a side, the diagram I used gave dimensions based on a 3 inch side.

I was a little concerned about the dissection of the central square because of the circular curves. I traced out the dissection with a ballpoint pen that made a slight indentation in the card, then traced over that outline with the tip of a very sharp knife. It isn't perfect, but I'm very pleased with the result:

The image adds some hints when we want to reform the basic square. Good or bad?

I was, perhaps, remiss in not providing full credit to the tangram book we are using. here it is, in all its Dover Publications glory, Tangrams 330 Puzzles by Ronald C Read.  Looking over my shoulder, J2 said, "the book actually had 334 puzzles." So, boom, 4 free puzzles!

Platonic Solids Defying Gravity I

Unrelated, J2 made a temporary installation of mathematical art today in the kitchen: Gravity Defying Platonic Solids I. Except for the obvious one, he also took the pictures included here:

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