Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bianca Chang's Paper Craft

Bianca Chang - Recent Works, June 2011 from Bianca Chang on Vimeo.

Wonderful video that combines paper craft and animation. I imagine some really artistic student could that this idea and do an amazing project for Calculus involving volumes and Riemann Sums.

It would take quite a bit of prep time, but an activity where students calculate missing volume of a square pyramid given say sheet number 30 and 180 out of 200 sheets could also be interesting. Students can create the models and do the calculations and then fill the void/missing volume with some fine sand or salt and measure the volume. It would also be a great time to discuss Cavalieri's Principle.

You can see some more elaborate works at Bianca's site, though I'd stick to simpler models in the classroom at first.


  1. That is some intense papercutting right there. Lovely work though. Maybe you could get students to bring in old hardback books for this project rather than using new sheets of paper though, make little secret hiding places or do something à la Brian Dettmer's book autopsies.

    Unrelatedly, do you accept guest posts for your blog? I would've emailed you but I can't seem to find your contact info. Drop me a line at nataliehntr86 at gmail, thanks!

  2. Thanks for the tip. It's the first I've heard of Brian Dettmer. He's definitely done some interesting work, probably a little too complicated for the purposes of a calculus class, at least for the principle we're investigating.

    First time I saw it, the video reminded me of Shawshank Redemption. I was thinking about matching up a solid pyramid or cone to the cut out space on a stack of paper. Show how that volume can be calculated from just a few sheets of paper, some simple modeling, and a little calculus. Even using sand or salt to fill in the void and measuring the volume that way.

    As for guest post, I haven't considered that for this blog. Let me think about it. In general, I do not get much traffic here so guest posting in other more prominent blogs will be a better choice if you're looking to get more web traffic.