A security camera, taking pictures each half a second, films a cyclist going by. In the film, the cyclist appears to go forward while the wheels appear to go backwards. Why?
A design is repeated endlessly along a line - rather like a stream of paper coming off a roll. Make a strip that matches itself after rotation, or after reflection
I noticed this about streamers that have rotation symmetry : if there was one centre of rotation there always seems to be a second centre that also worked. Can you find a design that has only. . . .
How can you use twizzles to multiply and divide?
Introduces the idea of a twizzle to represent number and asks how one can use this representation to add and subtract geometrically.
A gallery of beautiful photos of cast ironwork friezes in Australia with a mathematical discussion of the classification of frieze patterns.
The first part of an investigation into how to represent numbers using geometric transformations that ultimately leads us to discover numbers not on the number line.
Arrow arithmetic, but with a twist.
Points off a rolling wheel make traces. What makes those traces have symmetry?
Triangle ABC has equilateral triangles drawn on its edges. Points P, Q and R are the centres of the equilateral triangles. What can you prove about the triangle PQR?
How did the the rotation robot make these patterns?
My train left London between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and arrived in Paris between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. At the start and end of the journey the hands on my watch were in exactly the same positions but the. . . .
This article describes the scope for practical exploration of tessellations both in and out of the classroom. It seems a golden opportunity to link art with maths, allowing the creative side of your. . . .
Two circles of equal radius touch at P. One circle is fixed whilst the other moves, rolling without slipping, all the way round. How many times does the moving coin revolve before returning to P?
Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
Proofs that there are only seven frieze patterns involve complicated group theory. The symmetries of a cylinder provide an easier approach.
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72 degrees or...
Look carefully at the video of a tangle and explain what's happening.
There are thirteen axes of rotational symmetry of a unit cube. Describe them all. What is the average length of the parts of the axes of symmetry which lie inside the cube?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
Can you describe what happens in this film?
Sort the frieze patterns into seven pairs according to the way in which the motif is repeated.
See the effects of some combined transformations on a shape. Can you describe what the individual transformations do?
Does changing the order of transformations always/sometimes/never produce the same transformation?
How many different transformations can you find made up from combinations of R, S and their inverses? Can you be sure that you have found them all?
A white cross is placed symmetrically in a red disc with the central square of side length sqrt 2 and the arms of the cross of length 1 unit. What is the area of the disc still showing?
The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design...
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?
A triangle ABC resting on a horizontal line is "rolled" along the line. Describe the paths of each of the vertices and the relationships between them and the original triangle.
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?
A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
Overlaying pentominoes can produce some effective patterns. Why not use LOGO to try out some of the ideas suggested here?
Why not challenge a friend to play this transformation game?
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.