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December 16, 2011 Geometry Graffiti — Polygons in the Hallways By Stacey Burt
Grades 6–8

    I L-O-V-E teaching geometry. I really do. Maybe it’s because it is that part of mathematics that is so visual. Even the abstractness of polyhedral views can be easily understood with all of the technology and Web sites dedicated to creating 3-D images.

    Making the transition from polygons, interior angle sums, exterior angle measurements, and lines of symmetry to polyhedral views can be a bit tricky. One of the final steps I take in preparing my 6th grade students for stretching their perspective and tackling the volume and surface area of these beautiful figures is to create polygon graffiti on the walls of our school’s hallways. Using painter’s tape, protractors, and a graphic organizer, my students select a regular or irregular polygon to replicate in the hallway.



    Polygon Graffiti Requirements

    I have had polygons that had vertices on the ceiling as well as polygons that wrapped around corners of corridors. The shapes are actually quite beautiful. There are many possibilities to this culminating activity. Here are the requirements that I set for my students:

    1. Include one side that measures two feet (we know what this means for regular polygons).
    2. Use the equation (n - 2)180 to calculate the sum of the interior angles.
    3. Indicate lines of congruence with green painter’s tape.
    4. Indicate lines of symmetry with dotted pieces of green painter’s tape.
    5. Label the measure of all interior angles.
    6. Post the name of the polygon beside the figure.
    7. Post a graphic organizer with all information completed.

    Feel free to use the graphic organizer that I require my students to complete. You may also want to have your students explore this Math Is Fun page before they fill out the polyhedral view for their polygon.

    It generally takes about two hours for the students to complete this activity. For those that finish their polygon early, I have other polygon name cards laminated and ready to go for them. Many of my students like the challenge of completing more than one figure, especially the irregular dodecagon and hendecagon (undecagon). I hope you try this with your students. It’s great as a review before standardized testing and as an alternate form of assessment.




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Susan Cheyney