How do you express love on Valentine's Day in the nerdiest way possible? You make möbius strip hearts, of course. We previously entered the world of topology with Möbius strips and turning two circles into a square, so what better way to express our love of creative ways to learn math than with a super geeky valentine?
Topology is a branch of mathematics which studies "properties that are preserved through deformations, twistings, and stretchings of objects." (Source: Wolfram MathWorld) But more to the point, it is a great source of cool paper tricks and groovy math art.
It is much easier to watch a video on how to cut Möbius strip hearts than to describe it to you with still photos, so of course I made one! Do you know I adore making videos? Truly, it is my favorite thing these days.
How to make Möbius strip hearts
What you need:
- Paper. I prefer origami paper (affiliate link). It comes in pretty colors and is easy to cut, even when layered with tape!
- Cut paper into strips. Vary the length and width to get a variety of sizes. You can even link a small heart with a large heart for extra cuteness.
- To make a Möbius strip, bring the ends together making a half twist. Tape.
- Make your second Möbius strip going the opposite direction. This is very important. The trick will not work if your Möbius strips twist the same way. (See photo or video.) An easy way to remember is when you make the twist say "to the left!" and "to the right!"
- Tape your Möbius strips together at right angles.
- Start a cut so that you are cutting one of the strips right down the middle. You will need to do this twice, as when the first cut comes to an end, the second heart has not yet emerged. So to speak.
- Arrange your linked hearts and exclaim,
I love math!
Math + Art = Love
Extra credit knowledge for kids:
Möbius strips are named after German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius who discovered the non-onrientable band in 1858. A non-orientable band is one that has only one boundary. Try this: take a pencil and draw a line on both "sides" of the loop. How many times did you have to lift up the pencil? Now make a loop without the twist. Draw a line around both sides of the second loop. How many times did you lift the pencil? What happens when you twist the loop more than once. For a another cutting experiment, read our introductory post to Möbius strips. (Video included!) By the way, another German, Johann Benedict Listing, discovered it at the same time!
More Valentine STEAM to love:
Want more? Try these Valentine math art ideas:
- Make heart tessellations - three ways!
- Exercise your brain with this geometry heart puzzle
- Make a symmetrical I Love You Valentine.
- Make origami heart bookmarks to sneak in geometry!
- Read and play with these math art books
And of course you should read some wonderful Valentine books.