Last weekend a long time friend of mine came over and was helping me do some organisation of the shelves in my lounge room. He came upon a small pile of hexaflexagons and asked what they were.
Despite all evidence to the contrary I’ve always thought of myself as terrible at mathematics. My view is entirely due to the terrible state of Maths education in Australia in the 1970s and the terrible High School I went to. I never did get the hang of algebra in my second year and from that point on I was lost.
I’ve always had a fascination with puzzles and patterns. When I was small it was my Spirograph, string art and Cuisenaire rods then it was Martin Gardner’s book ‘Mathematical Puzzles & Diversions’ – the first chapter devoted to hexaflexagons. I remember my brother and I both littering the house with them.
It reached it’s height when I was 18 and meant to be studying for the final high school exams. Instead I spent two months studying Rubik’s cube to develop my own solution and a set of transforms for a dozen or so patterns. Since then it’s been the odd outbreak of fascination with something but never the single minded dedication of those two months. So I have done some incredible things over the years, just don’t tell me it’s maths and I’m hooked.
It was last year my favourite YouTube recreational math freak Vi Hart celebrated Flexagon month by shooting a few videos dedicated to them and I just had to make some of my own and go through all that fun again.
If you enjoy recreational maths or puzzles you should have a good look at all her videos. Until then get yourself a paper strip, make a hexaflexagon and get flexing.
Written in response to this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge.