Building the Town of NumberOpolis

About the Project

Team Ten (numbers 0-9) and π are moving to NumberOpolis. Numbers are global, and thus creating houses for numbers is appropriate for all makers around the world.  Work in small teams to design and build a home that expresses a number’s numeric meaning via history, science, architecture, music, culture, sports, etc.

Let’s first meet the numbers:

– Zero is the hero. I keep the team together and help them express their values greater than 9. I love all things oval, including the Milky Way. I came from Arabia to Europe where the Roman numerals ruled, but soon my Hindu-Arabic numeral system took over. 

– Number One. I am the ace and I love to be first, but that can be lonely. I was raised in Mesopotamia, where the Babylonians recorded the first numbering system. Now, I love skinny and tall buildings and the Arctic Narwhal with its single long tusk.

– Number Two. I like everything that comes in pairs, like a two-hump camel. My favorite city is Rome, founded by twin brothers Romulus and Remus. It’s just me and you, baby.

– Number Three. I am obsessed by architecture, from the Great Pyramids of Giza to the Louvre Pyramid of Paris. I play the musical triangle and the Three Musketeers are my favorite.

– Number Four. I am the team geek and proud of it. They call me “four eyes” or say that I’m square, but I never get lost because I know the four directions. Did you know that the four-color theorem proves that all maps can be colored with only four colors?

– Number Five. I live next to the Pentagon and see five-star generals every day. I use my five senses and keep away, but I do want to go to the Olympics because of its five interlocking rings. I’ll use my five-fingered hand to high-five the winners.

– Number Six. I love crystals and hexagons, snowflakes and beehives. They call me carbon because I am the sixth element. Do you want to play my six-stringed guitar?

– Number Seven. I am the rogue sailing the seven seas in search of the Seven Ancient Wonders. I am lucky in America where the Statue of Liberty has seven rays on her crown. Can you recite Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man with me?

– Number Eight. I love octopuses and stop signs with their red octagons. I am lucky in China where the Olympics started on 8/8/08 at 8:08:08 in the evening.  I don’t like bingo players who call me the “fat lady.”

– Number Nine.  I am a fashionista who loves cats because they have nine lives. I play baseball with nine innings and nine players on a team. Did you know that Kowloon in Chinese is made of “gua” (dragons) and “lung” (dragons), that is, nine dragons?

Ready! Now you can build a NumberOpolis.  Here are the steps:

1. Choose the number that you like the most.

2. Think where you encounter your number in your daily life or anywhere in the world.

3. Imagine how you can incorporate some of the characteristics of your number in the construction.

4. Create your house and then decorate it into a home.

5. How about taking a photo of it, or a selfie for the record?

6. Describe your design concept and building approach to “classmates.”

The fun part is that you can use any building material: recycled cardboard boxes, center rolls from paper towel and toilet paper rolls, or heavy colored paper. Duct tape can add color while stickers and “plastic pillow” shipping padding can become beds or sofas. Colored pens and number stickers can identify clocks, pet areas, and anything else your creative mind imagines. If many houses are made and collected, we get a metropolis—or NumberOpolis to be more exact.


April 24, 2019 (last update 07-23-2020)