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Alycia

I live in New York

I teach 3rd grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach 6th grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Beth

I live in Michigan

I teach 3rd grade

I am an enthusiastic teacher and techie, and a mom of three boys

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach 2nd grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

John

I live in New York

I teach writing for grades 5-8

I am a sharpener of minds who keeps students' thinking on point

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am a teacher who loves sparking the curiosity that ignites a child's learning

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach 2nd and 3rd grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach 4th grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Shari

I live in Idaho

I teach kindergarten

I am a wife, mom, and home chef who loves cooking up ways to make learning fun in school

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5 technology

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Amanda

I live in Illinois

I teach 1st and 2nd grades

I am a jewelry-making, pet-loving, runner, crafter, and bilingual teacher

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach kindergarten

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Getting Carried Away With Polyhedrons

By Stacey Burt on November 18, 2011
  • Grades: 6–8

In geometry, it’s the three-dimensional shapes that always stump my students, and

I am always looking for new approaches to teaching polyhedrons. Luckily, there are some excellent resources out there. Read on for instructions for making tetrahedral kites and teaching polyhedrons by folding circles, and for a great illustrated dictionary, perfect for visual learners.

 

 

 

Tetrahedral Kites

When teaching surface area and volume, tetrahedral kites are great at holding students’ attention. They provide a high-interest reason for doing some basic surface area calculations. Materials needed include:

  • String
  • Tissue paper
  • Tape
  • Nonbendable straws
  • Kite string

If you've never done this activity, a number of sites provide step-by-step instructions for you and your students. I like the instructions on NCTM's Illuminations  and on two class Web sites, by teachers Jill Britton and Mrs. Glenda Woodburn . Before doing the activity, you might also explore Alexander Graham Bell’s work with tetrahedral kites. You'll find information at Century of Flight and at Best Breezes, a site on kites, and in the article "Alexander Graham Bell's Flights of Fancy."  It takes my 6th graders two to three class periods to complete the kites, including some time for discussion.

 

Folding Circles

Another great resource is Wholemovement, which uses circles to teach polyhedral forms in a hands-on way. I generally begin my unit on three-dimensional objects by having students fold and study circles, as Wholemovement recommends. It has proven a very effective way to translate fairly sophisticated geometric ideas to 5th and 6th grade levels of understanding.

 

Illustrated Math

Scholastic publishes a great book, The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Math, that explains abstract geometrical concepts and ideas plainly enough that even young students can wrap their heads around them. Having this book in the classroom gives my visual learners a way “to see” 3-D geometry in a 2-D format. 

I hope you enjoy these resources for teaching polyhedral figures. Please share additional ideas and links that have worked for you. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

 

Best,

Stacey

 

Comments (1)

Wow, Stacy, I love the plan for tetrahedral kites. I've never heard of this before, and I can't wait to try it out with my students this year. Thanks for sharing this challenging and interesting math project! Alycia

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