Pink Fire Pointer Week 6 - To Be or Knot to Be? Möbius Strips with the Mad Scientists!

Week 6 - To Be or Knot to Be? Möbius Strips with the Mad Scientists!

OM NOM NOM nom nom!
Sadly, last Thursday was our last Mad Scientist meeting at the Beaver Valley Public Library :( since this Thursday will be our Summer Reading Club Party, see my post about that here:

Today for out theme I thought science is awesome and so far this summer we've had lots of fun looking at science themed stuff, from biology, zoology, chemistry to math, so I thought more science is always a good thing!
Voila! You see? A simple piece of paper, one loop with a twist (Mobius Strip) and a circular loop!
So, the day before I practised my Möbius strip making and paper loop making! The above and below pictures are the before and after of my loops! The fascinating thing about Möbius strips is how simple, yet complex they are! All a Möbius strip is a loop that has a twist through it! (see above picture on the left!)

The Strange ... But True? fact about a Mobius strip that makes it so weird, is that it is characterized as a surface with only one side and one edge, WHA- what!?!! right?

But its true and you can totally try it out for yourself its easy! Cut out a strip of paper and give it a twist before you tape your loop! Then with a pen or pencil start in the middle at a point in our loop and draw a continuous straight line down the middle until you connect the line. :O

The Möbius strip was found by two great German mathematicians, August Ferdinand Möbius (for whom the Möbius strip is named for) and Johann Benedict Listing in 1958.

I'm probably not it explaining it right, but there is this great story on YouTube, that introduced me to Möbius Strips! It's a video done by Vihart, who calls herself a Mathmusician and has a YouTube channel full of crazy, awesome math and music related videos that will blow your mind!

Anyways, I played the story of Wind and Mr. Ug for the Mad Scientists, its a good story that may make you cry :( its a little sad but also well told! I'll post the video here for you to watch! Let me know your thoughts!

After watching our YouTube story I laid out a bunch of pre-made Möbius Strips, construction paper, glue, tape, and scissors for the Mad Scientists to make their own Möbius Strips! Some of the Mad Scientists also went ahead and made some "get better" cards for Sara, who missed the Club because she broke her finger! :O ouch!

Here's some pictures of the Mad Scientists going crazy with making, decorating and constructing some Möbius Strips!

Kyleen made a crazy awesome Möbius Loop, where instead of having 1 twist, she made a loop of about 3-4 twists - as much as she could without ripping her paper!

She then cut down the middle all the way through her loop and it ended up becoming 3 interlocked loops with twists in them! Awesome!

We then went into the game of the Human Knot, which I wrote about in the Young Professor post for Week 6, you can see how to play that game here:

Ha! I love the pictures of the Human Knot game! It kinda looks like a big awkward group dance! Although in well life it wasn't quiet as graceful.

After a few rounds of the Human Knot game, we carried on to another game, one that I call the Prisoner's Trick! All you need is some string!

Here's how it works!

      • Get everyone to get paired off into groups of 2! Or picked out the pairs yourself!
      • Tie up a piece of string that is about an arms length in length and at each end knot off a loop that's big or small enough for people to put their hands through and wear like bracelets
      • Get one person of the pair to put on their "handcuffs" and then attach their partners to one wrist, and loop their handcuffs through their partners so that they are attached! If that makes no sense, then look at this picture!

      • Then state some rules!
            1. No taking off your handcuffs!
            2. No using friction to escape (a lesson I learned from Jillian and Alicen!)
            3. Be careful!
      • Then tell the kids that they have to escape from their fellow partner! Tell them that they must untangle their handcuffs from each other to escape!

Here's a look at how the Mad Scientists tried to escape!

Now, I remember the first time I played this game, and its crazy fun and crazy frustrating!! You end up just stepping through the string and coming up still tangled! And even just looking at your interlocking handcuffs, I thought "THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!!"

But let me tell you! There is a trick!

Smarties, Miss Jillian and Alicen thought they could get it! They used some science to decode of the mystery! They used the power of friction!!! - which if you refer to the rules! - is illegal! Please refer to Rule 2!

Here's the proof of Jillian and Alicen breaking out of their prison!


Now, you probably are squirming in your seats in wonder as how to escape the clenches of this masterful trap! Here are two pictures of how to untangle yourself from the Prisoner's Escape!

Crazy right? 
I showed Serena and Caleb the way out of there entanglement and they quickly hurrayed and danced in their newfound freedom! 

Then they went on to pass on their wisdom to Alicen and Jillian, who then went on to teach Emily and Kyleen!

After we were all free from our handcuffs, I quickly reviewed what we learnt today about Möbius Strips and then posed a question ... what if you could make an edible Möbius Strip!?!?!?


Goodness me, this was another awesome idea from Vihart on her YouTube videos. The kids had a blast! Caleb made a giant Möbius Strip!

Alicen made a Möbius Strip and then patiently ripped down its middle and it became a larger skinnier loop!

Jillian made a teeny tiny Möbius Strip! Cute!

Here's Serena with her interlocked loops!

Kyleen ended up with some interlocked loops too! 

So that was our last Mad Scientist meeting :( it was so much fun and I'm looking forward to our party!

Happy Reading my friends!!