Math = Love: Hexaflexagon Love

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hexaflexagon Love

All of the teachers in my school are supposed to do semester tests on set days.  Yesterday, we did semester tests in our odd-numbered hours.  Today, we tested in even-numbered hours.  Some of my students were a little confused by the odd/even distinction.  They mistakenly thought the day you tested on was determined whether there was an odd or even number of students enrolled in the class.  Once we got that cleared up, it went pretty smoothly.

The only problem I have with the whole arrangement is that I still have my odd periods for 3 more days and my even periods for 2 more days before the semester ends.  It's not enough time to start a new unit, but I'm not one to let my students do nothing.  They know this about me.  I passed out evaluation sheets for my students to fill out, and a lot of students answered "more free time" to the question "What changes do you want to see next semester?"  That's definitely not going to happen. 

Today, my classes that were finished with their semester tests, filled out the evaluation forms and explored the exciting world of hexaflexagons.

Hexaflexagon Love.

We started by watching this video by Vi Hart.  If you've never seen a hexaflexagon before, you have to watch this video!  Trust me, you will be amazed  

Then, I passed out blank trihexaflexagon templates from  This website has two versions available.  One template is larger and includes only the template.  The other template is smaller, but it also includes the assembly instructions.  I printed off the second template for myself and the first, larger template for my students.

Now, if I was a geometry teacher, I would definitely use the information available in this tutorial to have my students use a ruler and compass to have students construct their own hexaflexagon templates.  How awesome of an introduction to geometric constructions would that be?!  

The directions on the second template are well-written, but my students are not the best at following directions.  I found it easier to show my students what to do using the document camera than having them try to follow written instructions.

I did have my students number their template as shown in the instructions.  This way, I could tell my students exactly what numbers should be showing at any point in the construction process.  If a student's numbers did not match mine, it was obvious, and we could work to fix the problem immediately.

I learned after my first class to make sure I told students to crease each fold BOTH ways.  Otherwise, my students had a lot of trouble making their hexaflexagons work since the creases were weak.

After cutting, folding, and gluing, my students were eager to flex their hexaflexagons.  After many one-on-one lessons with students to show them where to pinch and open, the room was abuzz with excitement.  Students used the rest of the class period to color their hexaflexagons.

I did this lesson three times today.  Two classes loved it.  The other couldn't have cared less about hexaflexagons.  They didn't want to color them or play with them or even make them.  I have no idea why...


  1. 1) I absolutely LOVE ViHart.
    2) Hexaflexagons are so much fun to make with students. They are truly mesmerized by them
    3) Don't be disheartened by the 3rd class. It happens sometimes (usually with the class you least expect it to happen with)!

  2. Maybe the students in the third class were coneheads :)

  3. Group dynamic. You need that ONE child who gets excited to rope the rest into the fold. :)