Making Math

Cardboard Constructions

Here are two large constructions you can make from cardboard, which is a very cost-effective material that can be surprisingly strong when assembled as an interconnected structure.  Like the wooden geometric sculptures, these activities result in visual centerpieces, but are larger and use glued flaps instead of cable ties, which make them easier for younger students.  These can be scaled much larger if desired for a very impressive, yet affordable, activity.  Everyone who sees the result immediately understands that mathematics is essential to the process of organizing the structure and working out the lengths and angles.  It provides an opportunity to point out how math is valuable for all aspects of art, design, architecture, and construction.

Thing-1.  Building this large cardboard structure is an excellent focal point for any math celebration.  It is easy to understand in terms of the dodecahedron, but has two layers of vertices.  The parts are easy to cut out if you have access to a laser-cutter.

Thing-2.  This activity results in another giant cardboard structure, somewhat trickier to assemble than the first.  The structure can be understood in terms of the icosahedron.  The parts can be easily cut out if you have access to a band-saw, scroll saw, or laser-cutter.

After learning the techniques by making the two above, you can find additional ideas and templates for related geometric cardboard constructions here, here, here here,, and here.