Have you ever seen a math puzzle or game and wondered how it worked?

Many of these math puzzles and game rely on the mathematical study of shapes and spaces called topology.

Topology is the mathematical study of shapes and spaces.

Topology involves looking at the shapes that result through stretching, transforming, deforming, folding and twisting. Tearing, on the other hand, is not allowed!

This unit gives students the chance to investigate topology through many fun hands-on activities!

LIST OF ACTIVITIES:

### Objectives

• Develop mathematical reasoning.

• Make connections and solve problems.

• Communicate and express their understanding.

• Explain the importance of observation when doing math.

### Materials

• see individual activities for materials.

### Background

Topology is the mathematical study of shapes and spaces.

Topology involves looking at the shapes that result through stretching, transforming, deforming, folding and twisting. Tearing, on the other hand, is not allowed!

Some of the shapes involved include polygons and circles which can be manipulated in space to create different shapes.

These puzzles are a great way for students to explore 2-dimensional shapes in 3-dimensional space.

### Vocabulary

Topology: the mathematical study of shapes and spaces.

Flexagon: Folded paper polygons that have the fascinating property of changing their faces when they are flexed.  Flexagons can be made from a pattern of squares or equilateral triangles.

Mobius strip/band: A strip of paper which has been given a half twist, and connected end-to-end. It only has one side and one edge.

Tetra-tetra-flexagon: A flexagon made from a folded paper rectangle that is 4 squares long and 3 squares wide.

### Other Resources

Flexagon Portal | Flexagons

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre | Galleries: Science Garden | Möbius

Wolfram | Math World | Topology

Survivors

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

Egg BB

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

Comet Crisp

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

T-Rex and Baby

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Buddy the T-Rex

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Geodessy

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Science Buddies

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

Western Dinosaur

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.