Category: Geometry

Things of Science

Things of Science LogoI am scanning a lot of Things of Science lately. As a way to keep a handy, sorted reference to the scanned booklets, I created this post. I will update it as I add new units.


Things of Science #222 — Atomic Energy


Things of Science #232 (Feb) — Herb Seeds

Things of Science #234 (Apr)— Sextant

Things of Science #235 (May) — Straight Line

Things of Science #236 (Jun) — Hexaflexagon


Things of Science #306 B — Topology

Things of Science #313 — Measurement


Things of Science #318 — Center of Gravity

Things of Science #321  — Magnetism

Things of Science #322 — Buoyancy

Things of Science #323 — Chromatography

Things of Science #327 — Touch

Things of Science #329 — Computer

Things of Science #330 — Salt

Things of Science #331 — Linkages

Things of Science #332 — Sundial

Things of Science #333 — Sound

Things of Science #334 — Aerodynamics

Things of Science #335 — Corrosion

Things of Science #336 — Heat


Things of Science — Probability

Things of Science #331 — Linkages

Things of Science #331 - Linkages.xtraThis Things of Science unit covers some of the same ground as the Straight Line unit but goes into even more in depth. In addition to Watt’s Linkage, the Peaucellier Cell and the Cissoid Curve, this unit adds pantographs and angle trisection linkages.

This kit may be more or less complete (as purchased from eBay). From the photo above you can see the extensive linkages that were included. Lengths for the linkage bars are given in the booklet, so you can easily (and inexpensively) duplicate this kit.

The booklet:

Things of Science #331 — Linkages

Things of Science #235 — Straight Line

Things of Science 235.1Wow, this Things of Science unit really exemplifies what was best about these kits. At first blush, “Straight Line” sounds sort of dull. The “things” that came with this unit were simple pieces of a stiff paper, die-cut to length with pre-punched holes at various intervals. Additionally there were brass brads that allowed you to connect the die-cut strips into linkages. All in all, a pretty low-budget kit. But that is part of the charm….

After some history of geometric constructions and a discussion of curves, we get straight to the linkages. Several historical linkages are presented for the kit-owner to construct. These are clever geometric constructions that, while freely allowed to pivot, they nonetheless succeed in restricting some part of the linkage to linear motion. Knowing that pivoting linkages can only sweep out arcs (curves), it is a wonder that these early inventors were able to conceive of arrangements that produced lines.

I suspect if this kit had landed in the lap of young-me I would have been off on a tear trying to device my own linkages.

Here is the booklet (it lists linkage lengths if you want to create your own “things”):

Things of Science #235 — Straight Line


Things of Science #236 — Hexaflexagon

Things of Science 236.1Here’s a fun Things of Science. (If you aren’t familiar with Things of Science, see this post.) When I won this one on eBay it still contained some of the kit’s supplies (in the case of this kit, some paper, a protractor and colored pencils).

The hexaflexagon is a fun little diversion in its own right, but when presented here gets a full mathematical treatment as well.

I remember a Scientific American “Mathematical Recreations” article about the Hexaflexagon as well. My daughters and I made a couple of hexaflexagons a few years back and they enjoyed them as I recall.

Here is the booklet for Things of Science #236:

Things of Science #236 — Hexaflexagon

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