For You Math Fans: Polyhedral Waltz

I was recently contacted by a math professor I’d been in touch with several years ago. Debra Borkovitz of Wheelock College teaches math to future elementary-level math teachers. And she discovered SketchUp as a great teaching tool for visualizing math. (And a bit of self-promo: Debra found lots of great material in my GeomeTricks books!)

If you’re into geometry, or art or music or just pretty things, check out Debra’s video she entitled “Polyhedral Waltz.”

When you move your cursor to the video you’ll see “CC” at the lower right – click on that to see the video’s subtitles. The names of the solids are helpfully listed here.

The video was made with dozens of scenes that Debra set up in her SketchUp model. Her colleague Maurice Page composed the very pleasant music.

Here’s the original SketchUp model she used:

Click the above graphic to switch to the 3D viewer. Or click the “3D Warehouse” link in the lower right corner, to open the 3D Warehouse page where you can download this yourself.

This model has no scenes, but all of the solids are grouped and on logically-listed layers. Here’s how the Layers window looks. Note that similar objects on are on layers of identical color.


If you haven’t used layer colors, here’s a neat way to see how they work. Click the Details arrow (the right-facing arrow at the top right corner of the layers window) and choose Color by Layer. This shows all objects in their layer color. So I can turn off all layers except for the yellow and magenta ones . . .

. . . to see just the octahedrons and tetrahedons.


Or display just the red, blue, and yellow layers to see this cool object:




About Bonnie Roskes

Bonnie Roskes has been writing tutorial-style projects on 3D modeling software, primarily SketchUp, since 2001. Her website, offers a wide variety of learning materials for all ages, from kids in grade school through design professionals. Her materials cover general 3D design, 3D printing, geometry, interior design, geo-modeling, and more, and future books are in the works. Read more about Bonnie.