Fitting the body through a piece of card at the Curious Minds Club (St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School, 27 September 2019)

Another activity to demonstrate that topology includes changing an object’s shape without changing its size. I challenged the children to see if they could fit their body through a piece of A4 card. They looked baffled. I asked them what tools they could use. They correctly offered cutting and folding. I showed them this method, which uses one fold and lots of alternate cuts. There were a few false starts but all the children did manage to complete the task, much to their satisfaction. I then challenged them to fit their body through a postcard, using the same method but this time making narrower cuts. Despite their scepticism the children were able to complete this task (with a bit of help at times). The ultimate challenge was to fit their body through the paper equivalent of a bank card. This was really tricky as the cuts have to be so narrow they are prone to snapping. We did have several successes, all showing a lot of persistence. We all had lots of fun exploring the topology of a piece of card.

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