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Create a Super Loop!

Jul 24, 2013

Printable: Around the TownThis fun Printable activity introduces the Möbius strip, one of the most famous surfaces in mathematics, as you design a loopy route for spider friend Dez to travel on her bicycle. Dez wants to make two stops on her way home—and she needs a Girl Scout to get her there! She’d like to visit a dance studio, so she can do the Spider Shake, and she needs to make a trip to the library. Your help comes into play when you print out the activity, gather scissors, tape or glue, and a pencil or pen, and discover the wonder of shapes and spaces.

The loopy paper path you’ll create for Dez is called a Möbius strip, and it was discovered by German mathematicians August Ferdinand Möbius and Johann Benedict Listing in 1858. The Möbius strip has some curious properties that make math seem almost magical. If you start drawing a line around the strip—like the route you’ll draw for Dez—you’ll end up right back where you started. What you see is that the Möbius strip doesn’t have a front or a back. The top and the bottom are the same! The twist in the strip connects the top to the bottom, making a single continuous curve. As Dez pedals her bicycle along the path you traced, she returns to her starting point (home) having ridden the entire length of the Möbius strip (on both sides of the original paper) without ever crossing an edge!

Your Möbius strip makes an energy-efficient path for Dez and helps her reduce her carbon footprint, like we learn to do in the Get Moving! Journey. While you may not realize it, it also helps you explore a type of math called topology, which is the study of shapes and spaces. A little bit of real-world magic and a lot of math combine to make an awesome object you can explain to your friends and family. Make your Möbius strip and explore more loopy math with our Printable: Around the Town.