Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gumdrop and Toothpick Sierpinski Christmas Trees


Having the marshmallows, and toothpicks out for our Koch snowflake lesson, reminded the children of the fun we've had in the past building marshmallow, and toothpick Sierpinski tetrahedrons.

Just to jog your memory, a Sierpinski tetrahedron is a tetrahedron with the middle section removed, leaving four smaller tetrahedrons from which the middles are removed, leaving each smaller tetrahedron with four even smaller tetrahedrons from which the middles are removed...on into infinity.

I figured they might want to make a few, and was prepared with gumdrops (in place of marshmallows which we had pretty well used up) and green colored toothpicks, so we could turn them from fractals into tetrahedonish Christmas trees.


Of course, I should have known they wouldn't want to stop with the tiny trees I had planned.  They very quickly used up all our green toothpicks...


...and moved on to a multicolored Christmas creation...


...that was terribly festive, but much less tree-like, and not nearly as stable as I had originally planned.  It turns out stale marshmallows make for better building material than fresh gumdrops.  We've gone a lot taller with marshmallow our marshmallow tetrahedrons.


But then, the gumdrops were pretty, and tastier than old marshmallows when it came to disposing of the leftovers.

8 comments:

Phyllis said...

Oh, how cool! You guys have really been having fun combining geometry and Christmas. What wonderful fun!

Ticia said...

Our attempts to build with marshmallows ended with crying children a few months ago. Mainly because ours were fresh, and just didn't "hold their shape." I felt so bad for my kids trying to build stuff.

Angelic Scalliwags said...

Can I not just send my children to yours for their schooling? They would just love all the hands on impromptu learning!

Karin Huber said...

Wow, great!

Dawn Rebekah said...

What an awesome geometry lesson! You are an amazing teacher.
Blessings,Dawn

Bethany said...

How gum that looks! I'd like to set the kids loose with gum drops and toothpicks.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Very impressive! I can see how gumdrops would work better than marshmallows for this activity. Healthier for me, too, since I adore marshmallows and don't like gumdrops!

Lucinda @ NavigatingByJoy.com said...

All these Christmas posts are just brilliant. I am pinning them all for 2015 and will spend the year sourcing the ingredients! :-)