All posts by sherryh

Making colorful spheres at NOAA

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Middle school students worked hard learning how to code using the Math on a Sphere software. Scripting involves many of the same coding skills that computer scientists use when designing programs like using variables, writing scripts, calling preset commands, using recursion, and identifying bugs. Students also helped each other while learning non-Euclidean geometry in the early hours before schools started. Their hard work payed off! Here are a few of the colorul designs showcased on May 7, 2014, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado!

Best Paper Award at CELDA 2013

The International Association for Development of Information Society (IADIS) sponsored its conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2013) in Texas this year. Mike Eisenberg presented a paper on Math on a Sphere, contributing to the conference’s aim to address issues involving learning processes and supporting pedagogies and applications in the digital age. To our delight, our paper won best paper award! Find the paper on our Publications Page .

Creepy Happy Halloween Public Program

On Saturday, October 26th, the public visitors to the Lawrence Hall of Science got a first hand in making a cat, pumpkin, spider web, or jack-o’-lantern using Math on a Sphere, and then seeing their designs on the giant Science On a Sphere. By changing different values of variables in the computer program, visitors turn their black cats into pink cats, added bigger eyes to pumpkins, and drew spider webs on the Sphere. Sherry Hsi took turns with adult volunteers and staff members at the Hall, facilitating and being “the DJ”, using a microphone to announce the designs as they appeared on the ball and projecting the code to be shown on a second large screen behind the SOS. Teen interns from the Hall’s TechHive program helped children with Math on a Sphere, while “Prof. Mike” Eisenberg was on hand via Skype to help with children’s questions. Families enjoyed the background music playing fun Halloween music from different genres and periods of time. Visitors also made their own 3D faces by drawing onto a balloon. Their faces were captured from an iPad and computer projector onto the balloon’s 3D surface. Designs can be found in the [a href=””>sample designs menu.

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!


Enter the Math on a Sphere Design Showcase!


You’re invited to a Google+ Hangout with Science on a Sphere® and the Lawrence Hall of Science! No matter where you are located or your age, we invite you to write code and create designs using the Math on a Sphere software. On June 20, see your design displayed on the big Science On a Sphere exhibit in person or from the Internet via a Google+ Hangout!

What do I do?
To participate, use the Math on a Sphere software to create a design. The client software is available here:

Once you have created your design, use the following submission form to Submit Your Code

See your designs live on Science On a Sphere!
Join us on June 20 to see all the designs. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, we invite you to come to the Lawrence Hall of Science . If you are not local or unable to come in person, watch our live broadcast online. We will host a free Google+ hangout. For details about the program visit .

What are the deadlines?
Deadline for final submissions: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. PDT
Live Broadcast: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at Noon, PDT

What if I need help?
Check out Resources for help getting started. If you still have questions, e-mail us at


Thinking Spherically in Boulder

Who knows of any middle school students who like to wake up early in the morning to do math? We do! The students at Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colorado met before their school day began to be creative using Math on a Sphere. Students received some instruction in thinking spherically and learned some basic geometry and turtle commands facilitated by Hilary Peddicord, a NOAA Affiliate and Mike Eisenberg from the Craft Technology Group at CU Boulder. Within three meetings at school, each a bit over an hour at weekly intervals, students were able to learn how to instruct the turtle to move around the globe. Students traveled to NOAA in Boulder at the David Skaggs Research Center for their final meeting, where students could see their wildly colorful designs on the big SOS in a gala celebration.

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Topic Pages and Tutorials

Math on a Sphere has been used with kids as young as 10 years old! To learn how to program using the Math on a Sphere environment to create spherical designs, please check out our topic pages posted under the Teaching Resources page. These are guided step-by-step tutorials to help you master different drawing commands. Imagine different patterns, colors, and motifs that you can spin on a sphere. Email us if you get stuck, need help, or want more tutorials on different topics.

Turtle Temari

Here are some photographs of the Turtle Temari designs taken at the Lawrence Hall of Science in the early hours before the museum opened. The code was taken from the examples in Mike, Antranig, and Hilarie’s recently submitted article. In the traditional way of making Temari balls, wide ribbons are first wrapped around the ball, then details are added upon the first layer. When watching the turtle cursor draw out each pattern, you can begin to see the repeating patterns it takes to get spherical symmetries on Platonic solids.