Math Football

  1. Explain your process.
    • We analyzed the mental image of a soccer ball, and decided to create a series of pentagons that we would then attach to each other to make the sphere.
    • We made a base of one pentagon, and then attempted to add five pentagons (one per side), taking a way the overlapping edges as we go along.
    • This proved to be inefficient. The structure was not strong enough to stay up by itself, and we didn’t have enough time to resolve a problem with this prototype. So, upon realizing that combining and molding the marshmallows together we could make a ball, that’s what we did. We picked up the remaining marshmallows, rolled them together, and enforced the ball by putting in small pieces of raw spaghetti.
  2. What did you learn/change?
    • We learned that our structure wasn’t stable or strong enough to stay up by itself, so we resolved that the next time we had to create a soccer ball out of marshmallows and raw spaghetti, we would reinforce each side of the pentagon with two layers of spaghetti instead of just one.
    • As a direct result of this problem, we resolved that we would abandon our current prototype and instead form all the available marshmallows into a ball, thus creating a soccer ball. This was also due to lack of time available in creating the soccer ball.
    • We learned that we are not the most experienced when it comes to creating spheres with the materials available, even though we have used them to make prisms since elementary school.
  3. How is this a math problem?
    • It involves a lot of geometry, regarding the actual properties of a soccerball.
    • Despite not actually doing any calculations, it’s probably a math problem. Anything is a math problem if you look hard enough.

After the video, we figured that our main problem lied in making the whole shape out of pentagons, while in reality, a soccer ball is made out of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons.

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