Let's Play with the Jitterbug!   

Squares: Put the Jitterbug down on the table in front of you with one of the squares on the table. Play with that square on top. Pick it up and squeeze each square into a line. You've just demonstrated a square has no structural integrity, it will not hold its shape. When you draw a square, what ever you draw it on will hold the square's shape.

Triangles: Now, pick up the Jitterbug again and, this time, play with the triangles. Do you notice the difference? That's structural integrity.

Octahedron: Place your Jitterbug back on the table with a triangle at the base sitting on the table top. Place one of your hands flat across the triangle on the top. Slowly, yet firmly, press it as far down as you can without breaking it. This is an octahedron. Mathematicians call structures that are made up of regular shapes the polyhedra. This is a Greek word meaning many faces. They are classified by counting and describing the relationships of their faces, edges, and vertices that's where the corners meet (singular vertex). Octa- means eight.

Large Triangle: Now hold the Jitterbug with one hand on a top triangle and the other hand on the triangle base. Twist your hands in the opposite directions to make a large triangle. Place is on the table with one hand holding the center triangle down.
1-2-3-4 (tetra)....

: While holding the Large Triangle, use your other hand, and pull two of the outer triangles up to the center. Let go of the center base triangle anduse that hand to pull the last triangle to the center. Now you have a tetrahedron.

The tetrahedron, the octahedron and the icosahedron are the structural systems in the universe.

Icosahedon: Put the Jitterbug on the table with a triangle at the base. Place your hand flat across the top of the triangle and slowly press down so it looks like squares are diamond shaped. Imagine a line across each diamond. This creates the six missing faces to form the 20 equilateral triangular faces of the icosahedron. This is how Bucky made his famous geodesic dome.

Now let's do the Jitterbug dance! Put the triangle face on the table. Hold the top triangle face with your thumb, index finger and pinky finger around the triangle. Create a "pumping" motion, pushing down and unwind up. When you contract the entire system at a symmetrical rate (evenly twist and push), you create a vector equilibrium. This is why it's called a Jitterbug!

You can learn how to create the shapes mentioned and instructions on how to make "The Jitterbug" in Fuller's book:

f Thinking (Out of Print)


Richard Buckminster Fuller

"Bucky, "is one of the best known American thinkers. Bucky dedicated his life to truth. To him the function of truth is to collect information that is true- to understand life and what the universe is being."

This "toy," the Vector Flexor, is a complete set of transformations: vector equilibrium through icosahedron, through octahedron, down to the tetrahedron, the three basic structural systems of the Universe. Expansions and contractions are balanced equally. Vector equilibrium represents the basis of all atomic structures and all oscillations and wave phenomena that are articulated in our electromagnetic world. Out of this Bucky made up the word "TENSEGRITY" from the words tension and intregrity. Tension occurs when something is stretched and pulled, and integrity is a state of wholeness or completeness.

"This Jitterbug is a demonstration of the interdependence of all in the universe. I met the inventor of this toy, on National Integrity Day, February 26, 1983. I shall never forget it, because my inner bio-computer was rewired from perceiving a world of scarcity into a new perception of abundance. What I learned that day was synergy. Synergy is the behavior of whole systems, unpredicted by the behavior of their parts. mass attraction is an extraordinary example of this. It is synergy that holds our home planet Earth to the Moon. One great massive sphere and another hung by tension are attracted to one another. There is nothing in either the Earth or the Moon that predicts that they are going to be attracted to each other. From my experience with Bucky and the Jitterbug, I have made up the word "FULTEGRITY"- it is a new way of knowing SELF, and realizng from deep inside that who you are makes a difference, and that difference is LOVE. Goodness and love that has no sides or think in terms of advantage. Life is a service to humanity for all times."

~ Joan Woodward, MBI The Learning Center                  www.facebook.com/tobitoys




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