Geometry in the Real World Project Ideas

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  • 0:01 Geometry Project
  • 1:01 Elementary School Geometry
  • 2:08 Middle School Geometry
  • 3:06 High School Geometry
  • 3:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Geometry is a branch of math that lends itself nicely to project-based learning. This lesson will give teachers of different age groups ideas for how they can incorporate projects to show the relevance of geometry in the real world.

Geometry Project

Geometry is everywhere in real life, so when teaching the subject, there is no need to reduce it to pages in a textbook or lists of rules to memorize. Teachers of geometry, or shorter geometry units in the middle of larger math curricula, might notice the subfield lends itself wonderfully to project-based learning, or any kind of learning that incorporates authentic engagement with the surrounding world.

Students of all ages internalize concepts best when they get a chance to see how they work in action and how they are relevant to real-world situations. Yet it can be challenging to figure out what kinds of projects will help students. They need to make sense of geometric knowledge in ways that are developmentally appropriate, or cognitively and emotionally suited to the needs and abilities of a specific age group.

This lesson will give you some ideas of geometry projects that work for elementary, middle, and high school students. Feel free to modify them to meet the needs and abilities of your particular group of learners.

Elementary School Geometry

Let's look at an example appropriate for elementary school:

Ms. Diaz is a third-grade teacher who does units with her students on 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional geometry. She likes to incorporate art projects that show the significance of geometric concepts in the real world. Some of the projects Ms. Diaz does with her students include:

  • Creating greeting cards by cutting and gluing together polygons students can name then decorating the cards with other polygons
  • Drawing maps of the local community, the school, and the playground, to further discussions of angles, distances, area, and perimeter
  • Making origami and discussing the ways that figures are often composed from other shapes
  • Sketching scenes outdoors and then discussing the different geometric concepts in nature
  • Writing poetry about shapes

Ms. Diaz thinks that a key to doing geometry projects with elementary school students is keeping conversation and questions flowing while students work. She keeps a notebook of the questions her students ask as they take on different geometry projects and tries to address these questions in future lessons and activities.

Middle School Geometry

Now let's see an example suitable for middle school:

Mr. Stein is a seventh grade math teacher who has his students incorporate their conceptual understanding of geometry into an architectural design of their choice. Students often choose to design their ideal school, to remodel their house, or to design a shopping center or movie theater.

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