Mazes and Labyrinths

Eli Whitney Museum

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Sandbox Architecture

Mazes and Labyrinths

Thumbnail of Mazes and Labyrinths project

2017 Summer Program

Construct a table top sandbox. Fill it with Shape it Sand (a nearly massless modeling sand). Smooth the sand. With your finger, trace a path. A circle, perhaps. Smooth it, again. Can you draw a more twisty continuous path? Smooth it. When you can fill your whole box with a continuous path, you will have invented the Labyrinth.

Long ago, artists all around the globe discovered the power of this unending pattern. Some Labyrinths tell stories: of Theseus and the Minotaur, for example. Many explored mysteries like the beginning of the universe. Some were built for fun: a real life game of getting lost, then home safe.

Learn the legends and lore of Labyrinths and Mazes (and how the two are different.) Make tools for sculpting and molding paths. Create characters to act out legends. Build sculptures to surprise your adventurers. Press marble mazes into the sand. Link your sandbox with others to make a community maze.

Experiment with other materials: Cut and glue parts to devise a wooden maze. With the entire class: construct a full size yarn maze. Build a simple 3D Maze Circuit that is fun but challenging to master. (Aren’t mazes and labyrinths an age old lesson about the nature of learning things?)

Shape it Sand, a remarkable modeling sand, made available to us by the generous folks at Waba Fun.

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