Online course in Science, Engineering & Maths

Flexagons and the Math Behind Twisted Paper

Learn how to make flexagons - beautiful and unique paper constructions - and explore the math behind them.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 2 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $44 Find out more

Discover the unusual math of twisted strips of paper

Flexagons are twisted strips of folded paper, which reveal their properties when flexed.

This online course will explain what flexagons are, their history and their naming conventions. You’ll find out how to create your own flexagons and be able to share them with our global community of learners.

You’ll also explore mathematical fields that provide tools to analyze flexagons, including topology and graph theory and learn about Möbius strips, Tuckermann diagrams and more.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsA mathematician is an adventurer, an explorer in an imaginary world full of secrets, equipped only with an inquisitive mind and a twinkle in his eye. Hello, I’m Dr. Yossi Elran and in this course we’re going to study some amazing objects - Flexagons! Flexagons are twisted strips of paper, assembled in such a way, that they have more than two sides, creating the most unusual properties! Throughout the course, we’re going to make and explore some of these fascinating, paper constructions, and by the end of the course, you’ll be able to create your own flexagons and understand some of the fun math behind them. We’re in for a real treat! Click on 'Join' to join.

What topics will you cover?

  • The invention of flexagons
  • How to make flexagons
  • Cyclic and non-cyclic flexagons
  • Advanced flexagons
  • Möbius strips and their surprising properties
  • The math behind flexagons, Möbius strips and knotted paper bands

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Produce, create and fold Flexagons and Mobius Strips
  • Explore flexagons and discover some of their unique properties
  • Synthesize your knowledge and discover links between different mathematical tools

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at learners who enjoy being creative, solving puzzles, folding paper and revealing hidden mathematics. It will be especially useful for parents or teachers looking to inspire a love of math and do fun math activities with young people.

Who will you learn with?

Yossi Elran

Yossi Elran

I'm a recreational mathematician and metagrobologist and head our institute's technology in education unit. I have a Ph.D. in theoretical quantum chemistry, and think math and science are really cool!

Who developed the course?

The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary basic research institutions in the natural and exact sciences.

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