Surface Area and Geodesic Domes

By Stacey Burt on February 24, 2010


Geometry and measurement is one of my favorite units of study in math. The opportunity to build and create is limitless (time providing of course) and the experiences of constructing 3-dimensional figures generates new excitement for platonic solids.

School 2008-2009 054 

Teaching my students how to calculate surface area seems to have more meaning when they construct the figure that they will be measuring. In the past, students have created tetrahedron kites in order to determine surface area of triangles; however, this year my students are building geodesic domes with the same purpose in mind. 


School 2008-2009 058


It is always interesting to see how student make adaptations to the design to enlarge, shrink, or connect their geodesic domes. They are far more creative than I am and it reinforces the ownership the students take in their creations. The construction of geodesic domes and spheres for that matter is extremely straight forward. We constructed ours from newspaper, tape, and staples…very basic and easily acquired materials. Once constructed, students are to cover the faces of the dome with tissue paper, thus requiring the students to measure the surface area of each of their triangles.

School 2008-2009 052


I have included some links that provide very simple directions for geodesic dome construction. Often I will take a simple project and make it cognitively appropriate for my students. It teaches them to consider the world around them in more unique and complex manners. Hopefully, the next time my students visit or see pictures of Epcot, they will value the mathematical principles behind that beautiful geodesic sphere.

http://www.byexample.com/projects/current/dome_construction

http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/geodesicdome.html

http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/mathematics/dome/dome.html


Happy building-

Stacey

Comments

What a great idea! I can't wait to try it with my students, after our state testing is over next week! Thanks!

Britanny-

Hope your students have fun with this. Mine loved it!

Cheers-

Stacey

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
top
RSS Subscribe ButtonSign up to get these great teaching ideas delivered automatically.Subscribe now >