This is actually a fun, quickie activity.
The Mobius Strip was named after German mathematician August F. Mobius.
Mobius Strip links:
I read up on the Mobius Strip on Wikipedia, but it quickly got into advanced mathematics and my attention span went out the window. I can only imagine what would happen with 2nd and 3rd graders! Regardless, this activity is pretty neat- it’s a really good opportunity for the girls to make a hypothesis on what will happen before she takes scissors to paper. It’s a nice safe way to learn that it’s OK if an experiment doesn’t turn out the way you anticipate. Welcome to my world of laboratory science!!!
To do this activity, here are the supplies you need:
- A sheet of patterned paper You want to be able to tell the sides apart for this activity so if you use standard copy paper, decorate one side of it: stamp, draw a picture, what have you. I used patterned scrapbook paper because I have a ton of it!
- Adhesive- tape, glue, dry adhesive- they all work for this
You will want 3 strips of paper- I cut 3 1″ strips from my 12″x12″ sheet of paper. We’ll go through each strip one by one.
With strip #1, you will simply join the ends together- no twists. Just a loop of paper. Then cut the strip in half- what do you end up with?
With Strip #1, you end up with 2 paper rings.
With Strip #2, again you make a paper ring, but this time put a half-twist in the paper and attach the back side of the paper to the front. You can see in my example, the junction point is both pink and white. As in Strip #1, use your scissors to cut the loop in half. What is the result this time?
Unlike Strip #1, you end up with a single (albeit twisted) loop of paper! Kinda neat, eh?
Finally, with Strip #3, add a full twist to your paper, attaching front paper to front paper like you did with Strip #1. As with Strips #1 and #2, cut the strip in half. Don’t forget to try to predict the outcome before you cut!
As with Strip #1, you end up with 2 individual paper rings. However this time they are chained together!
Who would think that something as simple as twisting paper could lead to such different results? Feel free to make more paper strips and try other things- what happens with 1& 1/2 twists? What happens if you take Strips #2 & #3 and cut those rings in half again? Share your results with photos or videos!
And- don’t forget to recycle your paper when you’re done. It’s only fitting- according to Mathlinks, the universal recycling sign that you see on packaging and such is a Mobius Strip!