Rhombic Triacontahedron Puzzle

George Hart and Elisabeth Heathfield
Proceedings of Bridges 2016: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Education, Culture (2016)
Pages 609–614 Workshop Papers


This is a hands-on cardboard construction workshop that uses the geometry of the rhombic triacontahedron to pose a series of interesting challenges. Participants will first create a paper model to understand the basic structure of the shape and how it can be dissected into twenty rhombohedra. They will then build a large-scale rhombic triacontahedron out of cardboard rhombi, adding a combinatoric coloring challenge. The final result is a beautiful structure both mathematically and visually. We have led this Making Math Visible workshop at the university and high school level, and have observed that students enjoy creating and solving a puzzle that is also an objet d'art.