CS4FN Advent – Day 13: snowflakes – make your own six-sided hexahexaflexagon with our templates

The picture for today’s door of the CS4FN Christmas Computing Advent Calendar is a snowflake and, inspired by its six-sides, this post is celebrating the similarly six-sided (and six-faced) hexahexaflexagon.

A snowflake in a blue circle

A hexahexaflexagon is a strip of paper cleverly folded to hide and then reveal six hexagonal faces within it. You pinch and flex them to reveal another face, as shown in the video below. It’s effectively a Möbius strip.

The name references a hexagonal shape which is flexed to show a new face (‘flexagon’) and the hexa-hexa bit just means each face has six sides and there are six faces.

An unfolded hexahexaflexagon design.

Flexagons were discovered in the late 1930s by a British maths student (Arthur Stone) who’d arrived at Princeton University with a binder / folder from home and discovered that American paper was too large to fit in. He cut off the excess strips and ‘doodled’ with them by folding them into different shapes, then involving his classmates in developing them.

There are lots of ways to make them but we’ve created some templates to help. You can print our hexahexaflexagons or make and decorate your own from scratch. Ours depict Father Christmas looking for the six presents he’s lost among the different faces but there’s a blank template if you’d like to design your own.

Of course there’s some computer science and maths behind these too – we have a free PDF booklet which you can download from the link below, called Computational Thinking: HexaHexaFlexagon Automata.

 

Print or make your own hexahexflexagon

 

 

The six faces of our ready-to-print hexahexaflexagon.

 

Previous Advent Calendar posts

CS4FN Advent – Day 1 – Woolly jumpers, knitting and coding (1 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 2 – Pairs: mittens, gloves, pair programming, magic tricks (2 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 3 – woolly hat: warming versus cooling (3 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 4 – Ice skate: detecting neutrinos at the South Pole, figure-skating motion capture, Frozen and a puzzle (4 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 5 – snowman: analog hydraulic computers (aka water computers), digital compression, and a puzzle (5 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 6 – patterned bauble: tracing patterns in computing – printed circuit boards, spotting links and a puzzle for tourists (6 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 7 – Computing for the birds: dawn chorus, birds as data carriers and a Google April Fool (plus a puzzle!) (7 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 8: gifts, and wrapping – Tim Berners-Lee, black boxes and another computing puzzle (8 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 9: gingerbread man – computing and ‘food’ (cookies, spam!), and a puzzle (9 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 10: Holly, Ivy and Alexa – chatbots and the useful skill of file management. Plus win at noughts and crosses – (10 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 11: the proof of the pudding… mathematical proof (11 December 2021)

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 12: Computer Memory – Molecules and Memristors – (12 December 2021)

 

 

CS4FN Advent – Day 13: snowflakes – six-sided symmetry, hexahexaflexagons and finite state machines in computing – this post

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “CS4FN Advent – Day 13: snowflakes – make your own six-sided hexahexaflexagon with our templates

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