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Archimedes Laboratory Project

Mental & Perceptual Activities that Enhance Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
20 year jubilee
Italian language ITALIANO French language FRANÇAIS

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Our Puzzle Books
Impossible Folding Puzzles
Impossible Folding Puzzles
Libro MateMagica
MateMagica: Giochi d'ingegno con la matematica
Pliages, dícoupages et magie
Pliages, découpages & magie


Why should you support this site? Because we are:
1) Free,
2) Independent,
3) Committed to providing you access to the best resource for math education and brain training.

Archimedes' Laboratory is one of the top web resources for educational and mental activities. By making a small contribution to Archimedes' Lab, you help provide visitors with more outstanding and free educational online articles and activities.


Archimedes' Workshops

In addition to our editorial activities, we propose and organize puzzle workshops and activities for cultural or scientific events. We are puzzle enthusiasts, along with our educational games and exhibit material we frequently travel all over Europe to attend cultural and educational events, holding workshops and sharing our knowledge and ideas with adults and children alike (training courses, exhibitions, workshops). We aim to communicate the wonder of science and mathematics to the public in exciting, involving and entertaining ways: by creating, experimenting and demonstrating hands-on puzzles.
Our interactive activities, workshops and exhibitions are intended for an interested general public (having no prior specific math or scientific knowledge), and are particularly suitable for:

• Museums, libraries, schools
• Companies, public institutions, organizations (training)
• Communication agencies
• Congresses, Meetings
• Festivals, fairs, scientific or cultural events

girls playing
ESOF 2010,
Turin (I)

animazioni lutry
Workshop all'aperto,
Lutry (CH)

Festival des Sciences
Festival des Sciences,
Chamonix (F)

Francesco trying a puzzle
Trinitapoli (I)

laboratori Parigi
Fête des Maths,
Paris (F)

Festival della Scienza
Mente che Mente,
Genova (I)

Workshop in Val d'Aoste
Val d'Aoste (I)

laboratorio Gradara
Gradara Ludens,
Gradara (I)

Workshop in Crotone, Calabria
Crotone (I)

I Do, I Understand

How to focus the attention? Give a desire to participate? Encourage the creative explorating? By “catalyzing” the natural curiosity of the children (and of the grown-ups, of course!).
We learn how to do something by seeing other people doing it or, better, by trying it ourselves in a cooperative learning setting. Humans have “mirror neurons” that fire in the same pattern whether performing or just observing a task. These mirror neurons clearly play an important role in learning motor tasks involving hand eye coordination, they also forster high learning levels, acceptable social behaviors, and basic human understandings concerning one another’s intentions (see also the theory of multiple patterns of intelligence).

The main goals of our activities are to:
improve the spread of Mathematics through simple experiments and games;
awaken the general public to scientific themes by arousing curiosity, wonder, and emotion;
revalue and promote the 'manual ability' and other forms of expression or teaching means.


Wokshop 1: MathMagic

From a recreational angle, mathematics can lead us to the discovery of weird paradoxes challenging our common sense. Each student/visitor who attends this workshop will experiment and realize his own ‘magic’ math puzzle with everyday materials and explore different branches of mathematics. Our main object is to sharpen the eyes of the young and adult participants to the unexpected surprises that even the simplest things can reveal.

Wokshop 2: Eyes vs Mind

Under the guidance of an expert facilitator each person taking part in this workshop will be involved in particular situations where the mind deceives us. Everyone will discover original optical illusions, realize a perceptive puzzle and discover some incredible paradoxes of the mind and of our visual system... Sure, it is fun to be astonished by an illusion, but it is even more fun and instructive to imagine how it could actually be possible!


Workshops Online

Puzzles of the mechanical type may support learning processes in many various ways. In these workshops you may create your own puzzles (e.g. for use in the classroom, if you are teacher). They may be saved on your computer or published on your personal web page. Several types of self-made puzzles are provided:

Create Your Own Puzzle
Build your own puzzle and try hundreds of activities.
Tutorial To Create A Magic Tangram
A surprising Tangram puzzle with a touch of magic.
How-To Tutorials
Clever useful ideas from our FB page.


Puzzles can be involved in many therapies:
- Aging: it is scientifically proved that puzzles keep the brain young and active.
- Mental health: puzzles are a mean to significantly reduce stress and depression.
- Complex of inferiority: the personal gratification of solving a puzzle is a small victory leading, little by little, to self-esteem and confidence.
- Social behavior: puzzles and games involving multiple players serve as informal gathering places, and can thereby boost the individuals’ social connections.
- Alzheimer’s disease prevention: puzzles stimulate memory and can reduce short term memory loss.
- In psychotherapy, puzzles may be used to modify the way patients look at problems and can indeed change their perception of reality and subsequently reality itself.

Exhibition: Illusionarium

"Illusionarium" is a traveling art exhibition entirely dedicated to visual illusions, optical effects and paradoxes of the mind, featuring the work of Gianni A. Sarcone, the designer of Wonder. The selected works have always one thing, or rather two, in common: the two faces of Reality, what seems and what actually is... The viewer / visitor is immerged in a holistic visual experience and can interact with some original graphic works and three-dimensional objects made by Gianni.

To set-up this exhibition a location of approx. 250 to 500 square meters is needed. The support material is easily mountable: paintings, giant posters and various other exhibits and visual materials.

The most popular themes are the following:
- Kinoptic Art, that is, static pictures that seem to move;
- Impossible figures;
- Chromatic illusions that involve color and shades;
- Subliminal illusions, where the visitor has to find the hidden object in the pictures.

Content for the media & press

Our experience in the field of problem solving and brain training, along with our competence in rendering accessible themes which would normally be left to the experts because of their supposed complexity, has brought us to collaborate with authoritative newspapers and magazines in the field of the diffusion of knowledge and entertainment.

For over 20 years we have been writing books, articles and columns on creativity, visual perception, curiosities and paradoxes from the world of science. If you are a publisher and you would like to know more about the services we can offer, please click here.

We also write energetic content, involving visual and counterintuitive games to captivate and entertain a particular or informed audience. Fun and challenging, our puzzles and games involve the reader in the process of solving through creative and critical thinking. The following puzzle features: Sarcone's Visual Illusions, Matchstick puzzles, Psycho-Games, and Hidden-picture puzzles are syndicated by Knight Features (contact: Ms. Gaby Martin).


Last but not least
small arrow Samples of puzzles we realize with the visitors.
small arrow Samples of mechanical puzzles the visitors can manipulate and solve.
small arrow camera Photo gallery of our workshops and exhibits.
small arrow Program of our forthcoming activities (workshops & exhibits).
small arrow Complete bibliography of Gianni A. Sarcone & Marie-Jo Waeber.

small arrow Reflection and divagations about puzzles and mathematics.
small arrow To get more information about our workshops and activities, please: contact us!
Social, let's stay connected!

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small arrow What people think about Archimedes Lab

small arrow Send a free puzzling e-card

small arrow Share our prints and posters with your friends!

Events we took part in:
APMEP (France)
Expomaths (Mouscron, B)
Festival des Sciences (Chamonix, F)
Festival des Passions Technologiques (Bourges, F)
Convegno sulla Didattica della Matematica (Castel S.Pietro, I)
Maths 2000 (Paris, F)
Université des Mathématiques d'été (1997, Orléans, F)
Formation Continue (CO La Broye, CH)
5th World Skeptics Congress (Abano Terme, I)
La Mente che Mente (Festival della Scienza 2004, Genova, I)
Festival del Libro per ragazzi (Associazione Koinos, Molfetta, I)
Forum des Sciences (Villeneuve-d'Ascq, F)
GiocaMente (Perugia Science Festival 2005, I)
Settimana dei Bambini del Mediterraneo (Ostuni, I)
4e Congrès de l'Encéphale (Paris, F)
MateMagica (Associazione Libriamo, Trinitapoli, I)

ESOF 2010 (EuroScience Open Forum, Turin, I)

MateMagica (Consorzio Jobel, Crotone, I)
(Centro Risorse per la Matematica, Aosta, I)


Archimedes' Lab promoted by:

scientific american award
Scientific American

top ten site
Learning in Motion


Links of interest

Future events (calendar of our upcoming activities & workshops)

Puzzle and educational contents for digital media and the press.

Reflection and divagations about puzzles and mathematics.

Gallery of neat optical illusions and visual effects.

The Friends of "Archimedes Lab"!




archimedes lab logoArchimedes Laboratory Project
Mental & Perceptual Activities that Enhance
Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

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