Paper Plates Make 3-D Mathematical Models


Mention paper plate projects to my kids and they’re likely to scoff.

That’s because well-intended adults cheerfully made them suffer through paper plate crafts when they were small. (It wasn’t their eco-frenzied mother, really.) You probably made such crafts in your childhood, too. Decorate two paper plates with crayons, staple them together with dry beans in the middle and you’ve got a rattle!

But they’re intrigued by the complexity of Bradford Hansen-Smith’s paper plate designs.  By folding and joining spheres, Hansen-Smith generates a whole range of designs that reveal the beauty of geometry.

If you’re on the lookout for challenging and interesting enrichment ideas, get folding. We found Hansen-Smith’s books (available via his site) at the local library. And the video, cheesy background music and all, is a delight.



Laura Grace Weldon

About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is a writer, editor, conflict resolution educator, and marginally useful farm wench. She is the author of Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. She lives with her family on Bit of Earth Farm. Check out life on the farm at and keep up with Laura’s relentless optimism at

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