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Valentine’s Day Mobius Strip Activity

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I want to share the mobius strip activity I did with my students.

I told my students that I had wanted to get them each a Valentine.  But, I went to Wal-Mart, and they didn’t have any mathematical valentines.  So, I handed each of my students a strip of colored paper.  I told them that I still got them a Valentine; there was just some assembly required.

Without telling them what we were doing, I instructed them to cut their strip of paper in half.  

We folded each strip into a mobius strip, one twisted to the right and one twisted to the left.  Then, we glued the two mobius strips together so they were perpendicular to one another.  

Right when my students were really starting to wonder what we were making, I forced them to set their mobius strips aside to let the glue dry.  

I really enjoyed getting to introduce my students to the concept of a mobius strip.  Only one student had heard of a mobius strip before.  And, she only remembered it from Vi Hart’s Hexaflexagon video.

My Algebra 1 students spent the class period reviewing how to graph absolute value equations, finding slope from a table, and measures of central tendency.  Then, we started looking at more word problems together as a class.  

I chose EOI practice problems that required more critical thinking skills than particular Algebra 1 skills.  I am trying to expose my students to as many different problem types as possible before the EOI in April.

Of course, my students did not want to do any math today.  They tried every sort of way possible to convince me that there was no reason to do school work on Valentine’s Day.  

Once we got started with the word problems, I think they actually enjoyed themselves.  We had some great discussions while trying to match scenarios with graphs.  I think I’m going to try to find some time to fit Dan Meyer’s Graphing Stories into my curriculum.  

During the last five minutes of class, we finished our mystery valentines.  I instructed the students to cut both of their mobius strips in half.  The students were hesitant to do so.  They were convinced if they cut through the sections that had been glued that it would fall apart.  

I assured them that I knew what I was doing.  And, in the end, they were pleasantly surprised to find two interlocking hearts.  It was a lot of fun doing this short activity with my students.  Plus, mobius strips are mathematical.  And, we discussed mathematical terms such as “perpendicular.”

valentine's day mobius strip activity interlocking hearts

This one isn’t the prettiest, but it was the only one that was left behind in my classroom.
Instructions here: http://threesixty360.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/valentines-day-math/   

I really love my job.

Anonymous

Tuesday 26th of March 2013

Where are you?? I miss reading your entries :o( Yes, I am a lurker, but I am a faithful one!

Janaye

Friday 15th of March 2013

Super idea!! I love that you were able to celebrate a holiday and introduce a new concept all at once! Sounds like they really enjoyed it!

Janaye Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes

Anonymous

Friday 15th of March 2013

Hi there! I have an idea for your next blog post. I'm in high school preparing for college and know I want to be a high school teacher. I just don't exactly know what subject. I have been following you blog though :) Could you explain how you decided to be a math teacher and what you like/dislike about your job?

Thanks much for all of your posts! I enjoy reading your blog!

Anonymous

Saturday 23rd of February 2013

My kids love Vi Hart videos! They are fascinated by how much she knows, how great of an artist she is, and how fast she talks (speeding up the video hasn't entered their minds!).

denis thiyam

Wednesday 20th of February 2013

hey sarah, add me on facebook, you're great teacher.