Mirror books
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You can create:

  • Symmetric works of art
  • Windows into infinity
  • All times tables
  • Conjectures and theories about symmetry, transformation, multiplication and more

How?
Two plain rectangular mirrors, laid facing each other and connected with duct tape - this is the simple recipe for a whole lot of beauty and fun. Here are a few mirror book activities, invented by club members:

  • Doodle inside your mirror book! Everything is incredibly beautiful when reflected multiple times. Or make some sculptures and place them inside. Many contemporary artists and decorators use mirrors in their work.
  • Put two mirror books next to each other to form a mirror square. Look inside from the top, to find infinity.
  • Draw a line across the opening of the mirror book and start closing the book. Your line will form polygons with more and more sides, eventually turning into "circles" - too many sides to see angles.
  • Put your fingers inside the mirror book and wiggle for a very creepy effect.
  • Light a candle inside the mirror book. Beautiful!
  • Find all multiplication tables hidden in the mirror book. Open it 90 degrees for times four, 72 degrees for times five, 60 degrees for times six, or just count reflections - you will find those angles quite intuitively, even if you are a three year old.
  • Hold the mirror horizontally right next to your face for some pretty alien visual effects. Four eyes?
  • Hold the mirror over your head and stand in front of another mirror to see the back of your head.
  • Get a pizza slice and magically turn it into the whole pizza.
  • Move things around for easy animations.
  • Write letters and words to explore symmetries hidden in the alphabet.
  • Make a pentagon that has ten segments - how?!
  • While you are at it, explore reflections and rotations - 2d transformations!
  • Stuff a multitude of colorful objects inside the mirror book and see a gazillion reflections.

You can buy mirror tiles at any large home improvement store, such as Home Depot. I also found small rectangular mirrors at dollar stores and craft stores, for example, as mirror candle holders. School supply stores sell plastic mirrors, which may be a good idea if you are doing this with very young kids.

Why?
Because this activity is incredibly beautiful. It's fun for babies, but also deep enough for adults. It helps with math anxieties, because there is nothing stressful in it, yet a lot of math possibilities.

As you go

  • Seek multiplication, and ye shall find it in multiple places within your mirror book!

Higher and deeper

  • You can explore a lot of symmetry algebra and geometric transformations in connection to mirrors.
  • You can explore angles and other geometric topics, and prove theorems using your mirror book.
Created: December 6, 2008, 9:40 am, by MariaD
Last edit: December 6, 2008, 9:40 am, by MariaD ( Edit, History )
Co-author: MariaD