Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Tensegrity Icosahedron Model (or that cool collapsible thing from Little Man Tate)


A tensegrity icosahedron model, is one in which a 20 faced polynomial is outlined by free hanging struts, suspended in the tension of elastic bands. 

I'll be honest, I don't really know what its purpose would be.  But, I can tell you, a tensegrity model of a icosahedron is the cool collapsible shape Fred Tate made in the 1991 movie Little Man Tate.


And, not only is a lot of fun...


...to twist...


...and squish...


...and flatten, as you explore a three dimensional plane in motion...


...it turns out, it's also very easy to make.



All you need is -

  • 6 unsharpened pencils
  • 6 heavy duty rubber-bands, long enough to fit comfortably around the length of the pencils (elastic string tied securely into bands, will work as well).
  • 12 pencil erasers
  • and instructions.
We followed YouTube instructions made for a Los Angeles Trade and Technical College's Architectural Department project.




Don't worry about having slotted dowels, and plastic caps, like in the video.  All you have to do is loop the bands over the pencil ends, and hold them in place with the erasers.

Oh, and be warned, if you go looking for (and manage to find) a copy of Little Man Tate to watch with your children - there is a lot of great math, engineering and art to be found...but also a good dose of language, and a touch of adult subject matter to keep in mind.

9 comments:

Karin Huber said...

Oh, it´s cool! We have to try this.

Sheri said...

I love this! Thanks for sharing. I bet my kids would love to do this! BTW... I miss reading your blog. I am the blogging mom from Our Pace. I started a new blog called Learning With Passion. You may not remember me, but I remember you guys and look forward to future posts. :)

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Sheri - It's good to see you back!

Ticia said...

That is way too cool. It also reminds me of those expandable balls kids get at the store. You throw it at someone small and as it flys it expands out into a much bigger shape.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

How fascinating! I've never heard of this shape until now.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I had no idea you could make one of these so easily! Definitely need to give this a go with the kids!

Anonymous said...

love your site! Thanks for all the wodnerful ideas!

Sheri said...

Thanks for inspiring us! http://instagram.com/p/yFD9fBSjl4/

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Sheri - You're welcome :) Your pic is great!