Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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SCIENCE ACTIVITIES: The Armadillo Indicator | Construction Challenge Activity | Exploratory Walk | More Science Activities
MATH ACTIVITIES: The Outline of Things | Fractional Parts the "Tan" Way | Building Viewpoints | More Math Activities

This math activity is from the Teaching Math: A Video Library, 5-8,
a video-based professional development program for middle school teachers.

Using cubes and grid paper, children interpret shapes in both two and three dimensions. This activity helps develop children's skills in geometry, spatial perception, and connecting mathematics to the physical world. It is appropriate for middle and high school students.



grid paper

In this activity you can work with your child or have several children work in groups. Have your child build a structure with six cubes. These can be colored blocks, or commercially produced snap together cubes. To give children even more hands-on experience, have them cut and paste cubes out of construction paper using this pattern. Remember when the children are building their cube structures, the cubes must share whole surfaces (no partial overlaps).

Then, using grid paper, make three silhouettes of the structure: one from the front, one from the left side, and one from the top. Be sure to label the silhouettes.


Here are some questions to think about:

  1. What do you think determines whether a set of silhouettes will be unique?

  2. Is there only one structure that fits a set of silhouettes, or are there many structures?

  3. How can you devise a structure with six cubes so that all four silhouettes are identical? (There are at least two.)

  4. Suppose the silhouettes were not labeled top, front and side. could you still reconstruct the structure? How?

Trade your set of silhouettes with each other or with another group. See if you can reconstruct their structure fom the silhouettes.

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