Posts filed under: discovery

The Belgian Connection

Posted by Steve Lynett on June 22, 2013 | Posted under 3D puzzles, age, art, children, creativity, discovery, imagination, kids, polypuzzle


This report highlights the work of two Serbian students who were studying in Belgium.  Their task was to run a workshop with children from six to 15 years of age.  The teachers monitoring the workshop were extremely pleased with the result.


Tempus Project (part 1)

PolyPuzzle Workshop

Katrina Radic

The concept of making mathematics more interesting to children is a new way of looking at mathematics in general. I think it is important to show children that mathematics can be very creative and intriguing, thus the workshops were a big challenge and an interesting experience.

Through a geometric-based 3D puzzle game, named PolyPuzzle, in which kids could make various geometric forms – even little animals and toys – we succeeded in showing children that mathematics can be very creative and fun. The children reacted very well to the workshop – it was fascinating to see how children of different ages reacted differently to the puzzle. In the end, they all succeeded in making something of their own, thus bringing mathematics closer to them.

In the end, the workshop was, I think, a success – we brought mathematics closer to children and showed them that they are neither complicated nor hard – we have showed them the creativity and playfulness of mathematics, reflecting the fact that they really can be fun and interesting.


Tempus Project (part 2)

Milena Nicic

For our workshop, we have used PolyPuzzle – a 3D puzzle based on mathematics and geometry, with which kids could make different toys, like geometrical objects (spheres, tetrahedrons, icosahedrons, etc), and animals (bats, turtles, dinosaurs, frogs…).

Even though a bit complicated, it was interesting to see how kids dealt with the puzzle and learned, very fast, how to assemble it. It was fascinating how kids of different ages assembled the puzzles differently – in the end, all of them enjoyed the workshop and made a PolyPuzzle to take home.

I personally enjoyed working with the children and seeing them deal with mathematical objects while being creative and logic, at the same time having a lot of fun.

The kids playing with the PolyPuzzle were 6 to 15 years old – all of them found an aspect of the workshop to enjoy.

The workshop has shown everyone that mathematics could be very fun, and the fact that the kids could bring their creations home with them was very important for bringing mathematics closer to the kids.

The workshop very clearly reflects the creativity and playfulness of mathematics, which is very important in order for children to be more open to the subject. I very much liked that something as simple as a puzzle could make such a point and bring out the, very important, creative and logical thinking of children.

In the end, the workshop was a success, with many children making various objects and experimenting with the puzzle.

Where can you get PolyPuzzle?

Posted by Steve Lynett on November 10, 2012 | Posted under 3D puzzles, art, creativity, discovery, geometry, imagination, polypuzzle

We're often asked if PolyPuzzle is only available on our Web Store and the answer is no. 

In fact, you can get it at some really cool places.

Here are a few:


'Intelligent' ... we'll take it!

Posted by Steve Lynett on August 31, 2012 | Posted under 3D puzzles, art, creativity, dexterity, discovery, geometry, imagination, polypuzzle

PolyPuzzle recently showed off its exciting product line at the Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada"s "Latest and Greatest' show at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, minutes from Toronto Airport. 

NETS is an association of independently owned toy stores in Canada, promoting the products they sell, encouraging superior service and value to Canadian families.

The reception we at PolyPuzzle received was overwhelming and resulted in the following article published in the Canadian Toy Association's magazine 'Toys and Games'.  Click the link to see the article.

PolyPuzzle at the Bridges Conference

Posted by Steve Lynett on March 17, 2012 | Posted under 3D puzzles, art, Bridges Conference, craftsmanship, creativity, discovery, geometry, imagination, paper puzzles, polypuzzle

The incredible imaginings of sculptor Bob Stowell 

Blue-Green Super Sphere                180 Folded Hexagons              Sphere with Imbedded Crystal


Bob Stowell, artist, sculptor, designer and one of the key people behind our PolyPuzzle product lines has entered these three pieces of art in the 2012 Bridges Conference. It's the largest mathematics and art interdisciplinary conference in the world and this year it will be held in Baltimore, Maryland. The annual conference has traveled to cities in North America and Europe, and attracted participants from over thirty countries.

Following is the statement Bob submitted to the conference along with his work:

"I created these three pieces using a geometric construction system called PolyPuzzle, which uses a programmed laser to precision-cut myriad shapes in high-quality colored paper. The system was invented by my friend and colleague James Ziegler.

"The seeds of this new method of working were planted a few years ago, when James and I were looking at my geometric paper constructions, some of which were exhibited at the 2005 Banff Bridges Conference. The availability of a stock of pre-cut pieces allows me freedom to experiment in a spirit of open-minded play with different combinations of shapes.

"While the PolyPuzzle system relies solely on locking-tabs, I have taken the liberty of moving beyond this system, creating new works, or modifying existing ones and augmenting with glued joints. Although these constructions come out of a knowledge of the basic geometric solids, PolyPuzzle has led me to surprisingly different structures – ones I may not have otherwise discovered."

What follows are the descriptions Bob used for each of his three submissions: 

The Super Sphere 

The Super Sphere came out of experimentation with PolyPuzzle pieces. I discovered a module made of three hexagons (three edges curved) and three small triangles, and realized they could be connected in the manner of an icosidodecahedron. To fill the left-over, five-sided openings, I made the longer "bow-tie" pieces which connect the pentagons in the centre. The design evolved so that the bow-tie and isosceles triangle were combined into a single piece. This piece was sized to create a curved form with the set of hexagons. Aesthetically, the bow-tie pieces emphasize the pentagonal faces. I love spherical forms and the feeling of accomplishment I get when the last pieces are installed. Although this has a basic icosidodecahedral form, it is in fact quite unique. Does it fit any known geometric solid?

180 Folded Hexagons 

This piece of folded hexagons goes back to a discovery I made in 1969 about the possibilities of curved scoring in combination with regular and semi-regular geometric solids. It is made up of 180 hexagonal PolyPuzzle pieces with curved scoring in a triangular pattern. Because the inherent tension in the form tends to pull the joints apart, the internal joints are glued. The spherical form is a derivative of a truncated icosahedron and its intrinsic beauty is emphasized by the "flower of life" pattern in both the pentagons and hexagons.

Sphere with Imbedded Crystal

This spherical form is derived from a small rhombicuboctahedron and is constructed of 18 octagonal PolyPuzzle pieces with curved scoring in a square pattern. The colored inserts are each made of three rhombi to form a three-pointed star shape. As with the piece titled ‘180 Folded Hexagons’, this form required a high degree of skill and craftsmanship. The contrast between curved and straight-edged forms, and the interplay of overlapping circles, creates a compellingly aesthetic piece that invites the eye to trace the patterns and symmetry.

Read more about the Bridges Conference here

5 Top Reasons to Love PolyPuzzle

Posted by Steve Lynett on December 21, 2011 | Posted under 3D puzzles, age, art, children, creativity, dexterity, discovery, geometry, imagination, kids, NASA, paper puzzles, polypuzzle

Reason One:  Discover your inner creativity

The spirit of creativity is within all of us.  Just watch a child at playing with a cardboard box.  A small box can become a pilot’s helmet, or a safe place for prized objects.  A large box can become a cave or an automobile or a secret hiding place.  It’s not the box that’s creative: it’s the child with the help of a boundless imagination. There are no barriers and any object the child can find quickly takes on a life of its own.  As we age, we sometimes suppress our creativity.  PolyPuzzle was designed to unleash this creativity, allowing a collection of puzzle pieces to become whatever we want them to be.  Yes, it takes a little practice and a bit of patience.  But as the pieces go together, the creativity is sure to emerge. 

Reason Two: Develop the hands of a surgeon

One of the great things about PolyPuzzle is that it helps develop fine motor skills – the use of your hands and fingers to perform precise tasks.  You’re using the small muscles of the body when you pick up a pencil or a button.  It’s the opposite of using a hammer, although being able to use a hammer can come in very handy at times.  Strength, fine motor control and dexterity are all at work when working with PolyPuzzle.  Occupational therapists know the value of this kind of activity and encourage it.  So, if you ever need stitches or – heaven forbid – an operation, be sure to ask the surgeon if he or she has ever worked with PolyPuzzle.  It should be on your list of selection criteria.

Reason Three:  Learn to love geometry

Many of the objects possible with PolyPuzzle fall into the area of mathematics we call geometry.  Our world would be pretty flat without the vast array of shapes that come into play with globes, triangles and just about any three-dimensional shape.  Teachers find it helpful to teach geometry using PolyPuzzle.  Not only are the geometric shapes, or models, that emerge from flat, PolyPuzzle pieces fun to make, they are far more effective than any two-dimensional photograph or drawing. 

Reason Four:  You’re never too old

People often look at PolyPuzzle and see it as a game or a toy for kids.  Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Two of our most enthusiastic puzzlers are retired.  One is a mathematician and the other is an accomplished architect.   Geologists model with PolyPuzzle to reproduce crystalline shapes.  And anyone can appreciate the appeal of a PolyPuzzle owl, Toucan or Penguin although, we have no information that tells us what zookeepers think.

 Reason Five: NASA thinks it’s fun

One of the most exciting missions currently underway at NASA is the Kepler Mission.  Named for the 17th Century astronomer Johannes Kepler, the mission’s primary objective is to look for and locate habitable planets. One of the neatest PolyPuzzle kits just happens to be the Kepler Star.  And, yes, we showed it to the folks at NASA.  Alan Gould, Co-I for the NASA Kepler Mission at the University of California and Edna DeVore, CO-I for the NASA Kepler Mission at the SETI Institute both thought it was pretty cool.  No one can say PolyPuzzle doesn’t have star power!


Creativity taking shape

Posted by Steve Lynett on November 19, 2011 | Posted under 3D puzzles, art, creativity, dexterity, discovery, geometry, imagination, paper puzzles, polypuzzle

Welcome to the land of PolyPuzzle.  In this special place, the only passport you’ll need is a willingness to try.  We encourage you to free your inner creativity, to pick up a handful of puzzle pieces and become an artist.  If you’re willing to take the risk, we guarantee you a fun and rewarding experience.

There’s no right or wrong way in PolyPuzzle.  Free-form or structured, the things you create are an expression of your creativity.  The joy is in the things you discover about yourself.  And the possibilities are endless.

You enter the land of PolyPuzzle as a Novice.  But with a little patience and the help we provide through directions, videos and a bag full of hints and tips, you can take off and fly.  Graduate to more difficult projects and you’re quickly an Apprentice.  But dig down deep, tap your full creative spirit and you’ll feel like a Wizard.