# A one semester-long visual mathematical project

For the incoming semester, my school gave me an amazing new classroom, where all walls are covered by white boards. Even windows are covered by movable boards. It is great to have that much space and I will use lateral boards to keep information such as classroom life (homeworks, examinations,...), and keep important theorems, definitions or figures all lecture long.

I am not sure what to do with the board in the students'back. Since their chairs have wheels, I could use it normally but I don't feel it will be convenient.

My idea is to leave this board to the students and let them use it to present a math related project. The two main constraints are:

1. Only this board can be used to present the project. In particular, it should be self-contained, and the students should assume they would not be present to answer to the audience's question. The aim is that any passer-by could enter into the classroom and learn something from the project (maybe work on it - see below).
2. The project will evolve during the semester, the students improving or modifying it during small classbreak, or during their lunch break,... The idea is that the project does not take too much of the students time. Also, I planned to take photos of their work regularly.

My question: Do you have examples of this kind of project? Or resources on how to organize it?

Specific constraints related to this precise class (but I am interested in answers in another setting, addressing the two main constraints above):

1. They are high school students. They will start the study precalculus, but already know quite a lot about functions and trigonometry. A project involving multivariable calculus would also be interesting (for another class).
2. It is a special high school for science students.

My idea so far would be a timeline about Asian history of mathematics (Asian because I am a European teacher in Asia, and I don't know anything about this part of the history of mathematics).

• You should give a lecture which begins at the front and progresses around the room. At the end of the lecture you get to where you started and make the same point as was made at the outset. – James S. Cook Aug 17 '14 at 14:20

A study of the Platonic solids can be a nice visual project. A challenge to the students could be to find cartesian coordinates that correspond to the vertices of the these 5 solids. The octahedron and cube would be quite easy. Finding the vertices of the dodecahedron and icosohedron with trigonometry is challenging and fun. Another Platonic solid project would be finding radius from center to face center, edge center and vertice. Also finding dihedral angles. Coxeter's Regular Polytopes is an inexpensive Dover book and would be helpful for such a project.

• One stunning geometry project I had in my special high school for math and physics was to describe the 4D cube, and to the extent possible present its characterization on a plane like a whiteboard. The three guys who took the challenge later founded one of the top Russian website design shops. – StasK Aug 25 '14 at 15:55
• Students could discover/conjecture Euler's $V-E+F=2$ along the way. – Joseph O'Rourke Sep 19 '14 at 12:51