Home > Website of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 4/15/2012 Next >>

Some Eat Candy...Eli Make Pictures With It

In my recent calculus class, one of my students (R.H.) suggested I browse her boyfriend's website. She thought I would want to share it via my website. So, here it is...

The creator, Eli Sohl, states: "I like maths. Obviously. It's this strange phenomenon that only occurs once every hundred years for a high school student to actually enjoy maths..."

Eli's website creation is MathCandy!, where he makes mathematical pictures using candy.

Some pictures to check out:

  • Mandelbrot Set using an "amalgamation" of brown candies and cookies
  • Animation of a hexagonal cellular automaton, built using Nabisco thin crisps
  • Four iterations of the Sierpinski Triangle, using candy corn
  • Circle packing illsutarted using Pearson’s Mints and Hershey’s Kisses
  • A Riemann sum illsutrated using Rips Whips and AirHeads Sour Belts
  • Matrix multiplication represented by Jujubes, Mike&Ikes, a peach ring and two sour gummy worm tails...this one is a sweet stretch!
  • Petersen Graph via gummy worms
  • Counting in both base 2 and base 3 using gummy bears
  • Fibonacci sequence in Skittles
I see many more possibilities...but await his own creativity. What will be his next picture?

Eli adds this explanation: "MathCandy is the result of a game that grew into an interest that grew into a hobby that grew into an obsession.... Basically what I do is I buy candy and I use it to make mathematical patterns... The reason I’m sharing these is because a lot of people, in my experience, think that math is a horribly hard, ugly subject that involves nothing but moving a bunch of symbols around and solving meaningless problems. And honestly, the way it’s usually taught, a large part of math is that. But if you give it a chance, math can be so much more — math can be beautiful. You can play with math. Math can make pictures of a level of complexity and intricacy that most people would never believe. And what better way to get people to suspend their assumptions and open up to new ideas than by showing them lots of candy?... There are lots of things in math that can be explained really well with pretty pictures. Making pictures with candy challenges people’s preconceptions about what you can use candy for, and making pictures with math challenges people’s preconceptions about what you can use math for! Put the two together, and I’d say you get something really neat."

Thanks Eli...Thanks R.H.... Plus, it is interesting to visit Eli's blog π = 3.14159265... as well.