Saturday, January 9, 2016

Calendars, Christmas, and Contemplating the Cosmos with the Help of Hexaflexagons

We reluctantly put away Christmas, but our tree was getting too dried. So we've been tidying up as well and I tore out my favorite art from my 2015 calendar (Mary and the Saints) and put it below my bulletin board. My gaze wanders there often as I sit in my chair to write and it makes me happy. I love Catholic art and this is my favorite calendar because it has both the traditional and new feast days. 

File:Observable universe logarithmic illustration.png
Artist's logarithmic scale conception of the observable universe with the Solar System at the center, inner and outer planets, Kuiper belt, Oort cloud, Alpha Centauri, Perseus Arm, Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, nearby galaxies, Cosmic Web, Cosmic microwave radiation and Big Bang's invisible plasma on the edge.

Christmas makes me think about creation and I saw this amazing picture by Pablo Carlos Budassi. So beautiful! The article has links explaining the logarithmic scale and how Budassi came up with the idea ... all with a simple paper toy called a hexaflexagon. As you can imagine, this immediately piqued my interest and I was sucked down that rabbit hole. I spent most of yesterday constructing and deconstructing my own hexaflexagons.

My kids were embarrassed that I tore strips of the paper placemat at the Indian restaurant ... but it has just the right texture and was long enough to make a hexa-hexaflexagon. All this brought back wonderful memories of my childhood making paper toys like these with secret folds and hidden messages.

Note for math lovers and teachers: Vi Hart has a series of videos about math concepts. Great fun. Check them out.

12 comments:

Mirka Breen said...

Perfect activity for the mind and hands on a winter day~

Faith E. Hough said...

Hexaflexagons are seriously cool. I remember making them back when I was being homeschooled, but I haven't made them with the girls yet. (My mom did show them/me Vi Hart's video on them, though!)
(By the way, the Pieta painting on the bottom right of your board was my favorite from that calendar.)

Leandra Wallace said...

This is weird, but I really like that door in your room! =) And oh, math. My arch-nemesis. My brain is just not wired that way...

Jan Coates said...

A new word for me - hexaflexagons. We made those in elementary school, and I know we (sort of) believed the fortunes contained within:) Fun!

Vijaya said...

Mirka, I do so enjoy the arts (and math).

Faith, you must make these with your girls. They will have such a blast. My sister and I enjoyed paper arts thoroughly when growing up and didn't even know they were improving our math skills. LOL. The Pieta makes me want to run my hands up His Body, plant a kiss on His Forehead.

Leandra, that little door is a closet and it's a Godsend for the hats and scarves and gloves that we need only occasionally. And it's got boxes of my old manuscripts! I hope you'll give the simple hexaflexagon a try though -- it's very simple to make and you just might realize you actually like this stuff. I think your son would love it.

Jan, haha! We used to write fortunes too! Fun times.

Bish Denham said...

I've never folded a hexaflexagon, though I remember the four sided paper fortune telling toy we girls used to make.

Katie L. Carroll said...

I love those! I might have to make some with the boys.

marciastrykowski.com said...

I think I see a cootie catcher!

Vijaya said...

Bish, we played the same fortune-telling game!

Katie, these paper toys can be hypnotic. Do let me know what your kiddos think.

Marcia, hee hee!

Molly/Cece said...

All the best people I know make hexa-hexaflexagon toys out of the paper mats at restaurants.

Vijaya said...

That's great Molly :)

Pablo said...

You may want to follow this image's official sites for new cosmic art comming soon!

https://plus.google.com/b/104567620977343762156/104567620977343762156/posts

https://www.facebook.com/Observable-Universe-Logarithmic-Illustration-869906349793386

‪#‎pablocarlosbudassi‬ ‪#‎aweplant‬ ‪#‎plantadeasombro‬ ‪#‎nuevemillas‬