Building Simple and Not So Simple Stick Models

Robert McDermott
Bridges London: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2006)
Pages 655–660


Physical models are invaluable for conveying concepts in geometry. In this paper, I explain how to build stick models based on the Platonic polyhedra. Supplies for these models were thin bamboo shish kebab sticks from a grocery store, and vinyl tubing from a hardware store; both supplies are inexpensive and readily available. The tools used were a ruler for measuring the length of sticks, a clipper to cut the sticks, a scissor to cut the tubing, and a punch to make holes in the tubing. These tools are also reasonably inexpensive and readily available. Grade school, high school, undergraduate and graduate level students have made models with these supplies and tools and all of them have taken away something meaningful related to their existing level of knowledge.