Marc Johns: Thinking About Parallelograms

While this print is no longer available in Marc John‘s shop, many other amazing pieces are. Like this one:


Something for the Kids

Here are a few recommended children’s books that have math in them!

Written by Jon Scieszka (who also wrote The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales) and illustrated by Lane Smith.

Here it is on Amazon.

And another:

Written by Danny Schnitzlein and illustrated by Bill Mayer.

Here it is on Amazon and if you’re interested in seeing more of the illustrations check out Behance.

Minimalist Geometry/Art

Meet Tilman, an interactive and graphic designer in Germany, who has taken some time off from his usual work to create digital representations of geometrical shapes and properties. His tumblr presents a new piece each day and is worth checking out.

Just Cut, Fold, and Paste

So there are these things called “nets” in math. I actually didn’t even know what the term “net” was referring to until I started student teaching and the Geometry students starting asking me what it was. Their textbook was asking them to draw a net for a given 3D shape.

A net is a two-dimensional figure that can be folded into a three-dimensional object.


If you were to unfold a certain three-dimensional polyhedron, you could cut the shape at its edges and get pieces in which you could then lay flat. For example, take this pyramid:

Imagine it has a square bottom, it is made of paper, and you can hold it in your hand. Think about what it would look like if you unfolded it, if you could take the faces and lay them all flat.

This is probably the most common way to think about the above pyramid unfolded but there are more. Consider it a challenge to discover another.

Here are some additional shapes to think about:

You can also work the other way. Given a net, you could build the 3D shape. There are many print outs available online which include tabs on the nets to make it easier to glue or tape these shapes together. Here’s an example.

The cube has many different nets that all represent the cube. I’ve seen questions on standardized tests that tests an individual’s spacial skills by giving them different options and asking which is or isn’t a valid net.

For example: Which of the below nets will build a cube?

One group of professors and students took this idea a little further. They started building nets out of fabric and zippers, trying to see which nets they could construct that would use only one zipper to build the corresponding 3D object.

Check it out!

You can check out other math related art at the Bridges Math Art Galleries webpage.

Elementary Humor

One of my favorite math related jokes came from one of my high school students a while back. I overheard her tell another student:

Q: What did one math book say to the other math book?

A: You’ve got problems.

Sometimes jokes are so seemingly simple, and yet are so brilliant, clever, and funny.

The image above was taken from shirt.woot! (where a new, original t-shirt design is launched each day and sold online – usually with clever anecdotes or witty designs). I’m not sure of the story behind this one but it reminds me of another joke, which I’m sure you’ve heard:

Q: Why was six afraid of seven?

A: Because seven eight nine.

*On a side note, here’s the blog belonging to the creator of the design above. I tracked him down (virtually) to make sure credit is given where credit is due.