Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Half Square Triangle Quilt Puzzle - Math Meets Art



Piecing together the isosceles triangles for our Valentine cookie with the children, I was surprised at how tricky it was to create the pattern, even with a picture of the design we were working toward right in front of us.


I really love geometric puzzles. Naturally, after the cookies were all eaten, I decided we needed to have to have a more permanent set of half square triangles to use for exploring the multitude of designs, that can be created with them.  So, it was back to cutting out and dividing squares, but this time out of card stock instead of cookie dough...


...or rather out of folding notebooks, which turned out to be a lot less expensive than colored card stock (cereal boxes would do in a pinch too, and might even turn out to be more quilt-like in the end).


Before I cut the squares apart, I used them to trace out the base of a cardboard frame (also a good use for an empty cereal box)...


...which I completed by gluing thin, "mitered" strips around the edges.


The frame isn't really necessary, as the triangles can be pieced together right on the table, but it helps the younger children visualize the 4 x 4 unit square.

All that was left then, once the triangles were all cut apart, and the glue on the frame was dry, was to print out, and "laminate" with contact paper,  a sheet of half square triangle, quilt block patterns from one of the many quilting websites out there (this one is really good) to get us started...


...puzzling out and coloring in the designs for ourselves.


It's a lot like working on a Tangram puzzle...


...but with a slightly more artistic flair that quilters, mathematicians, and puzzle fanatics alike are sure to enjoy.


It's great to be a homeschooler.

8 comments:

Joyful Learner said...

I love these!!! Must do them soon.

Ticia said...

And this would be why I don't quilt much, all those 5/8" cuts, and figuring out angles for bias and all of that drive me nuts.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Ticia - I was thinking that too. I'm always amazed at the fair to see the huge quilts with all the perfectly matched corners, not the mention the hand quilting. They are beautiful - but represent sooooo much work.

Phyllis said...

I agree with Ticia. I am not sure I could make this lovely set you have made. It is beautiful and the resulting activity is something I would certainly like to do just for fun. My boys are less into that sort of thing.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Phyllis - In this case it was all straight cuts - I'm sure you could manage it quite well :)

Natalie AfterschoolForSmartyPants said...

What an amazing idea - as anything that comes from you when you put your mind to teaching math. Your kids are so lucky to be growing in your house and learning from you.

Christy Killoran said...

This is amazing! You always have the best ideas.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

This is very awesome. It's easy to see why this post is so popular! I particularly like the cookies.