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When we sent the first design to Brown Sheep, back in 1996, we offered them several choices. They chose the simplest. The others stayed in the collection of designs we might make one day.

Window Boxes was always Steve’s favourite so, six or seven years after it was originally drawn, we decided to make it. Maybe it had been pushed aside because there is nothing intrinsically mathematical about it that we hadn’t done before. It uses Pythagoras’ Theorem and the square root of 2. A unit can be identified that can be repeated time and time again until the surface is covered. It has squares, triangles, parallelograms and ‘windows’. It is an optical illusion.

Look at a window as the end of an open structure such as an open tube and it provides opportunities for looking at 3D shapes and starting to think about what is inside and what is outside.

If the windows are on the front of tubes and we are looking into the tubes how do those ‘roofs’ or ‘church towers’ suddenly loom up? Can we be inside and outside at the same time?

We learned a long time ago that anything that forces children to use mathematical language to explain a point has to be important for mathematical development. Window Boxes certainly makes them talk and within a very short space of time they need the words to express the ideas.

WINDOW BOXES