Students should spend time spinning the geometric shapes below.
They can see the controls to get to know the shapes. In a math journal
or on a blank piece of paper, ask students to record what they discover
about the shapes.
Each of the shapes is called a polyhedron, which means "many faces." (Note: Polyhedra is the plural form.)
Students may use the Geometric Solids Tool, which is identical to the following tool:
Geometric Solids Tool
Instructions for Students
Choose a Shape:
- Click on the new shape button.
Rotate the Shape:
- Place the mouse pointer on the shape. Move the mouse
while holding down the mouse button.
Color the Shape:
- Click on a color. Hold the Shift Key while clicking
the mouse where you want to paint. You can paint a face, an edge or a corner.
Remove the Color:
- Click on the reset shape button.
See Through the Shape:
- Click the box by Transparent.
Change Shape Size:
- Use the mouse to move the blue
Developing the Activity
It is expected that students will identify the solids as having
flat sides and that they will say the first shape is made of pentagons,
the second is made of lots of triangles, and the third is made of
triangles but is different from shape 2, and so on.
They may tell you which is their favorite shape and why, and they may mention which shape is more familiar to them.
Be sure to have the students check the Transparent box so they
can also view the shapes as transparent. Ask what information about the
shapes they can see more easily in the transparent views.
It is very beneficial for students to work with solid models in
becoming familiar with the properties of solids. If you have geoblocks
or other geosolids, make them available to students.
Open-ended directions, such as, "See what you discover about the shapes. Share your discoveries with a friend," can be useful.
You can begin to derive some vocabulary from student dialogue.
For example, a student might say, "There is a flat side." And the
teacher could respond, "Yes, we call that flat side a face." The terms
faces, edges, and corners are defined in the next lesson.