Tag Archives: Craft

246. ChrisMaths Cheer

Hey … it’s that time of year again! Baubles and cheesy jumpers are creeping into the most mundane of places. How about a more mathematical festive season?


Image credit: http://technabob.com/blog/

Here is a round up of the Sandpit’s Christmas resources:

Twelve Days of ChrisMaths

176. Christmas Craft

So, what to craft for that maths geek special someone … may we suggest polyhedral dice pillows?


These squashy beauties are from ¡The Anticraft!. There are full instructions and helpful diagrams on the website. These would also be a great classroom resource.

Warning: the folks at Anticraft are honest in their language, so don’t click if you prefer subtler prose.

126. Kusudama to meet you

Wow … September again and many people will be meeting new faces for the first time. Learning names, setting out classroom rules, figuring out who’s got all the textbooks you need …

image Made using origami paper.

Back in July I made Kusudama flower balls with a couple of classes. It occurred to me then what a great ice-breaker they could be. They’d also be a nice maths club project.

Definition of Kusudama from Wikipedia

The Japanese kusudama (薬玉; lit. medicine ball) is a paper model that is usually (although not always) created by sewing multiple identical pyramidal units (usually stylized flowers folded from square paper) together through their points to form a spherical shape. Alternately the individual components may be glued together. Occasionally, a tassel is attached to the bottom for decoration.

You will need:

  • 5 squares of paper for a flower
  • 12 flowers for a ball
  • 60 squares of paper in total (sugar paper is cheap, but doesn’t tape together well)
  • String if you wish to hang it up
  • Card if you wish to mount a half ball on the wall
  • Sticky stuff: glue sticks or glue dots or pva glue or tape or a hot glue gun – whatever works for you!
  • Beads or ribbon for decoration (optional)


It has an instructional video and very clear step by step photographs. It’s so easy a six year old can (and did) do it!
  1. The instructions assume 30 pupils in a class. Let each pupil make a petal following the step by step instructions and then independently make another (2 petals each).
  2. Pupils pair up and stick two petals together (1 petal each and 1 pair stuck together).
  3. Pairs team up with another pair and stick their pairs together (1 petal each and 4 petals stuck together).
  4. One person in the four uses their extra petal to complete the flower – that person is in charge of the flower ( three people with 1 petal, one person with a flower).
  5. Flower pupils form a group and start sticking their flowers together.
  6. Petal pupils work with new people in groups of 5 and create another flower.
  7. Eventually 12 flowers are completed and stuck together.



  • String should be firmly attached before the ball is complete.
  • It is advisable to staple a half ball to card or the wall to prevent it collapsing.


Thank you to @c0mplexnumber for the original inspiration for this activity.

Have fun folks!

98. All sewn up

It’s not often you have to get a sewing machine out to mount display work:


These are the dragon curves stitched by Year 5 pupils as part of a Community Gifted and Talented programme I run. I thought that by making them out of fabric and thread they would last longer – hopefully long enough that the Year 5 can see them up in the Maths Department when they join in Year 7. It’s also different to a ‘normal’ display and a bit of a talking point.

The cross stitch fabric makes rather good squared paper. Imagine what you could do with fabric, thread, a bit of creativity and a friendly sewing machine owner.

57. The coolest table ever

This has to be seen to be believed.


Is it a square table?
Is it a triangular table?
It’s both!

Math Monday

If you browse the Museum of Maths website, you’ll find so many great ideas – many by George Hart (co-founder of MoMath & Vi Hart’s dad). The posts were originally part of a collaboration between the ‘Make’ magazine website and MoMaths. The archive of projects and new posts are now available from the MoMath site.

I’ll bet you’re thinking about how to get one …

46. Pursuit Curve from the past

This project hit all the buttons for me (Maths, Craft, Art, fair bit of Black).

The pattern is in the Knitty archive – OpArt. I made my version for the first-born child of friends.

Longer ago than I care to remember I collaborated on a instructional for pursuit curves on PrimaryResources.co.uk.

Although they aren’t a key part of the Maths curriculum, pursuit curves shouldn’t be overlooked or dismissed as an end of term activity. To produce an accurate picture, pupils need to carefully use measuring and drawing equipment – this makes it a good way to start a measures topic.