Springtime Swingtime!

Kim Sharp, a math teacher at Kearsarge Regional Middle School, in New London, New Hampshire, assigned his pre-algebra math class a spring project on hinged dissections. He sent me a message on June 21, 2003 describing the results:
"Hi, Greg! Well, it happened. My class of 15 seventh graders and 5 sixth graders showed off their hinged creations to each other a week ago Friday AM, and then they decorated the room, transforming it into a mini-museum of dissections. We had a sign reading "Springtime Swingtime", a large dissection pattern on the ceiling, a demo "stained glass" dissection on one of the windows, a welcoming table with Dudeney's triangle-square in wood and Loyd's red heart and black spade and a backlit screen illuminated with the Cross-Crescent illustration reproduced from your first book!

"All this was set-up for a sixth grade class to come to play later! My students set out their projects on the lab benches and then left me to host the incoming class and its teacher. I had our computer aide photographing so that I could answer questions and schmooze. The visitors had a great time trying out stuff like - how 4 Greek crosses can hinge to make one large one, checking out a 2 square dissection with a human figure spanning the pieces, checking a T-slide, puzzling the stained glass, etc. I have attached various shots to give you the idea. There was a whole lot of excitement and curiosity in the air!

"Prior to all of this I spent three class periods going over tessellations which yield hinged dissections to problems with two different sized squares, using T-strips to find overlapping figures, making two equilateral triangles into one larger to show a different slant on the Pythag. theorem, and hinging some oaktag to demonstrate the possibilities of cyclic hinging.

"This little recreation provided some neat insights into tessellations, constructing irrational lengths - blah, blah. Anyway, thanks for providing support. I know I have one very thrilled seventh grade girl who clearly deserved the T-shirt award for creativity! She stood up on a chair to model the T-shirt, and the whole class yelled and cheered.

"Thanks again, and best wishes."

Kim Sharp
title eager participants
A title that Swings! Okay, guys, Mr. Sharp worked hard on this,
so let's all look really, really interested.
Kim Sharp; spade-heart How does this go?
Now that we have Spades and Hearts,
can math Clubs be far behind?
Hmmm... now how did this go?
on the ceiling! stained glass gnomon
My Heavens! They're on the ceiling! Yikes! We can't even stare out the window!
Greek crosses 1:2::sqrt(5) 10 squares to 1
Greek Crosses swing too. Ten bright squares to one!
4 Latin crosses to 1 What is this?
Psst! Tell Mr. Sharp that these are Latin Crosses. ... the hip bone connected to the ...
No, wait! This is math class!
2 squares to 1 Solved!
Can this be ...? On the square!

Congratulations to Kim Sharp and his swinging class!
You've done a really great job!
- Greg Frederickson

Photos and description courtesy of Kim Sharp.
Captions (with apologies) by Greg Frederickson.

Last updated June 27, 2003.