Lesser-known alternative to straw-and-microfilament polyhedra. Staple of 4th grade geometry classes. Polyhedra constructed by inverting paperclips, bending them to the proper angle, expanding the ends, and inserting into straws. Repeat, and you have neat-o shapes. Advantages over straw-and-microfilament construction include: ability to construct hexahedra (cubes) and dodecahedra that do not collapse, faster construction process. Disadvantages include: paperclips must be precisely adjusted to the proper angle before straw penetration, mildly uneven vertices, possibility of straw breakage.

The simple polyhedra (tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron are those most often constructed in geometry classes, but some more advanced classes delve into the archimedian solids which are truncated or blended versions of the basic regular polyhedra.


I have derived unnatural amounts of fun from building straw-and-paperclip polyhedra since I learned of the process in a TAG mathematics class in 4th grade. I have built shapes, hats, castles, birdlike minimalistic animals, and an egg drop project out of straws and paperclips. On a recent visit to my old school, I helped teach a 4th grade class that was learning straw-and-microfilament polyhedra how to build them with paperclips instead. They loved the cube that would stand up on its own.

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