This was going to be a post about maths in nature, intended to get you out and about counting seed heads and picking up feathers but as we are having a bit of a wet spring we thought we would stay indoors and have a look at crafting.
Children love making things and getting crafty is a wonderful way to share some quality time with family members. Why not spend a lazy afternoon at home quilting with the kids or knitting with the grandchildren, getting them to think about maths at the same time.
Knitting and stitching provide wonderful opportunities for children to explore and experiment with space, shape and measurement which all feature at key stage 2 and 3 of the National Curriculum for maths.
There is an awful lot of maths in knitting; counting stitches, adjusting tension and measuring rows. Make a mistake and you ruin the symmetry or pattern but the joy of it is you can just unravel your mistakes and start again. Here is a lovely free pattern to create these gorgeous little owls. The basic shape is ideal for beginners but there is scope for including some lovely patterns for the more ambitious.
We have found some amazing work by maths loving knitters who use maths as inspiration for their designs. These sites show what happens if you put a Fibonacci sequence into your knitting pattern or attempt to knit a Mobius strip.
If knitting is not your thing, how about quilting? Tessellation is when you fit shapes together with no spaces or overlaps and quilts are a perfect example of this. The simplest examples arrange identical shapes but things get exciting when you start tiling more complicated shapes. Just look at this quilt inspired by Escher’s Tessellations.
This little drawstring bag is a great project for young stitchers
but if you don’t want to get the needle and cotton out, you could always create a no sew quilt like these.http://www.mi.sanu.ac.rs/
We have recently discovered Temari. This is a Japanese craft that makes use of maths to create patterns by winding thread around pins on a ball of yarn. These designs are stunning and make beautiful decorations. This site has a nice tutorial and plenty of inspiration for designs to try. http://www.temarikai.com
For your little artists, how about Psyanky. Psyanky are painted eggs from the Ukraine, decorated with brightly coloured geometric patterns.
Plotting out these patterns is a challenge but the results are stunning.
For younger children developing an understanding of symmetry you cannot beat a spot of paper folding. This charming tutorial for creating a chain of paper dolls explains the maths as well as clearly showing how to produce the repeated shapes with a simple template. Why not colour the dolls in red, white and blue and use as bunting when you celebrate the Jubilee.
These lovely paper snowflakes are folded in to six to make them scientifically accurate but if you make them big enough you could use them as doilies for your Jubilee tea.
If you know of any other mathematical crafts or have any ideas for including maths in your family activities, do let us know. We would also love to see photos crafting efforts so get folding, painting, knitting and stitching. We can’t wait.