Sunday, 30 July 2017, 2:00pm–6:00pm
Davis Centre Atrium, University of Waterloo
Free, open to the public

Can mathematics be playful, can it be fun? Can mathematics be intriguing, attractive, amazing and magical, even for those who did not think it was the most inspiring class at school? Bridges Family Day is a free public event that offers a range of hands-on activities, workshops, games, exhibitions, and performances that connect mathematics with art. Join us for an afternoon of delight and inspiration. Family day is a free event, open to any and all who wish to join us!


You are invited simply to visit Family Day and wander among the many activities and events. But if you want to plan your visit, the list below outlines the contents of Family Day. Full details on the afternoon can be found at

Poetry Reading

2:00pm–4:00pm, DC 1304
Host: Sarah Glaz

An afternoon of mathematical poetry, featuring works exploring mathematical connections in poetic form and content, by published poets from around the world. More information can be found on the poetry reading web page.


Short Film Festival

2:00pm–3:30pm, DC 1302 and 4:30pm–6:00pm, DC 1304
Host: Bianca Violet

Our annual reel of juried mathematical short films, videos and animations that have been created for educational, corporate and artistic purposes, or just for fun. More information about this year's selection can be found on our gallery website. The same 90-minute reel will be screened two separate times.


Jardin Galerie’s Children and Youth Art Exhibit

Hosts: John Hiigli and Kristóf Fenyvesi

Jardin Gallery and Experience Workshop present a digital exhibition of mathematically inspired artworks by children from all over the world.


BigZome Construction

Hosts: Micho Ɖurđevich, Paul Hildebrandt and Samuel Verbiese

Come help us build a gigantic geometrical sculpture using BigZome, a spaceframe system consisting of aluminum nodes and struts, that is based on the Zometool construction toy. Tired of living in 3 (or 4) dimensions? BigZome structures are projected from 15 dimensions. There’s a lot of real estate out there, so come join us in hyperspace!


Persian Patterned Polyhedra

Host: Eve Torrence

We will build dodecahedra and icosahedra from punch out card stock sheets. These polyhedra are decorated with Persian patterns designed by Bridges founder Reza Sarhangi.


The Playful Side of Mathematical Art

Hosts: Kate Jones and Alex Streif

A unique collection of beautiful puzzles will be available for participants of all ages to find solutions–easy ones for kids, difficult ones for experts (teen to Ph.D.). Players will create beautiful designs and learn about combinatorics. Recreational math as art, “for the joy of thinking”, will give everybody an unforgettable experience.


“X-mas in July”: Kirigami Workshop

Host: Corinna Beuermann-Kulp

Kirigami is the Japanese art of paper cutting. You are invited to make several 3D pop-up Christmas decoration and to try the “STEAM Kindergarten suitcase”, and many other interesting tools.


The piano keyboard as you never saw it before

Host: Samuel Verbiese

Samuel Verbiese will joyfully share an improbable and breathtaking discovery he made recently related to the visual ‘wallpaper effect’ underlying stereograms.


Coloring Infinity: a Study on The Dougherty Set

Host: Buddy James and Theo Dougherty

Regular 8.5 x 11 prints of The Dougherty Set will be provided to be colored for the first time in public! New discoveries are found daily. This dynamic geometry is literally fruiting daily, showing how artistic intention can lead to new scientific and mathematical discoveries.


3D Geometric Art

Host: Mircea Draghicescu

Participants can assemble (and take home!) their own geometric art objects using the provided plastic pieces. Suitable for children 8 and up (requires some manual dexterity) and adults.


Navigational Puzzles in the Hyperbolic Plane

Hosts: Dorota Celińska and Eryk Kopczyński

Participants will play puzzles based on navigation in hyperbolic geometry, on our computers. The puzzles will take place in the world of HyperRogue, and thus the players will see various shapes typical for hyperbolic geometry, such as horocycles, infinite trees, and tessellations.


LEGO Broccoli

Host: Sunil Singh

We'll build 3D fractals called Sierpinski Pyramids using LEGO pieces!


(A-)periodic Puzzles

Host: Uli Seidel

Uli Seidel offers two different puzzles—one with dinosaurs (periodic pattern, symmetry group pg) and another with many birds (aperiodic Penrose tesselation). There will be stamps available with both motifs so children can create and colour their own puzzles.


Playing in the Lux Dimension

Host: Mike Acerra

Meet the Lux inventor, Mike Acerra and play with the Lux blocks to learn how Lux works and what can be made with these 21st century construction elements. This activity is for builders of all ages.


4DFrame Mechatronicsl

Host: Ho Gul Park

Meet inventor Ho Gul Park while you design, build and code your own robot using 4Dframe Mechatronics.


Building with Z-bent Springs

Host: James Mallos

Participants build small polyhedra by weaving colorful helical plastic pieces together in a manner inspired by DNA nanotechnology. Learn about ‘strand exchange’ and Euler circuits. Free play for younger participants– but as an advanced activity we will try to assemble the polyhedron encoded by a long ‘scaffold strand’ of ‘DNA’. Participants take home what they make.


Geometry Through Time

Host: Roger Burrows

Author of popular math-art coloring books, Roger Burrows invites everyone to a travel through time and cultures, led by ancient geometrical ideas.


Mathematics and origami

Hosts: Natalija Budinski and Miroslav Novta

Origami in maths learning? Participants will experience how origami techniques can be simply implemented to fold polyhedra, which can be used in teaching geometry.


Imaginary Cube Puzzle

Host: Hideki Tsuiki

Puzzle solving is a fun activity. The Imaginary Cube puzzle has a unique beautiful solution and one needs to find geometrical properties of the pieces to discover it. One can observe mathematical beauty and feel mathematical surprise as well as the sense of fulfillment when it is completed.


Polyhedra Party

Host: Stacy Speyer

Come to color and construct your own geometric form from the collection of patterned nets called Cubes and Things. We will have scissors, markers, crayons, tape, and a polyhedra enthusiast to help you make these cool shapes!


Paper Quilt fun with Irrational Numbers

Host: Elaine F. Ellison

Participants will measure a historical quilt pattern and discover irrational numbers. Then we will trace triangular shapes on sticky foam material. The foam material will be attached to the pattern.


How to write a short story using Vector Theory

Host: Cynthia Clay

A creative writing workshop to help storytellers craft exciting stories by using mathematical techniques.


Treasures Inside the Bell

4:00pm–6:00pm, DC 1302
Host: Carlos E. Puente

People of all ages are welcome to create beautiful patterns.


Poly-Universe and caraWonga Mandalas

Host: Experience Workshop

Experiment with the Poly-Universe artistic game, explore symmetry and chaos. Some designs will resemble flowers or crystals! There are millions of variations, limited only by your imagination.

Next, discover symmetries and visual illusions with caraWonga MANDALAS! Create a mandala from textile stickers, which can be put to a number of decorative uses. Only the imagination limits what we can create. 

Re-Bot Experience Workshop: Don’t throw it out, create a robot!

Host: Gábor Vecsei

Come and build various robots from recycled materials and code them with your smart phone!


Polyhedra on a Shoe String: String and Finger Geometry

Host: Karl Schaffer

String figures, the imaginative designs created with simple loops of string, are found among the world’s most ancient cultures, but these loops may also be used to create remarkable polyhedral structures. Participants will use large loops of rope and string to form polyhedra and other geometric designs, and morph one to another in surprising ways. Similar geometric and polyhedral designs can be created with fingers and arms.


Bridges Family Day is coordinated by Kristóf Fenyvesi, the Bridges Organization's Director of Community Events, researcher of Contemporary Art & Culture Studies at University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The Bridges Organization gratefully acknowledges the City of Waterloo, sponsors of our Family Day programming.