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Geometry of Polyhedrons Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Need some engaging ways to teach your students about polyhedrons? Look here for activities to help spark interest in your students as they learn about the geometry of polyhedrons.

Activities are Important

Students benefit greatly from hands-on activities. Helping students learn about polyhedrons through research, working with their hands, and collaborative learning experiences will keep them engaged. Let your students have fun while they learn about shapes made from multiple polygons. You'll be surprised by the knowledge they apply. All of the activities are easily adaptable so that you can meet the needs of all of your students.

Polyhedrons Activities

What's a Polyhedron?

Students show what they know about polyhedrons with this project.

Materials

  • Paper bags (lunch bags or small gift bags)
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Rulers
  • Construction paper in various colors
  • Clay or play-doh
  • Resource on polyhedrons (text, notes)
  • Optional - use of technology with computers and printers

Procedure

  • Students will work individually.
  • Each student will put together a bag full of polyhedrons.
  • The following information will be researched and put together:
    • Front - definition and an example of a polyhedron
    • Left side - prism and pyramid examples of polyhedrons
    • Right side - explanation of Euler's formula or Polyhedron formula and at least one example, F + V - E = 2 (F is faces, V is vertices, and E is edges, always equals 2 unless the polyhedron intersects itself)
    • Back - platonic solid examples of polyhedrons (octahedron, dodecahedron, etc.)
    • Inside - examples and explanations of at least 7 different polyhedrons (could be drawn, created with paper, formed with clay, or pictures printed from the computer)
  • Allow time for students to work on their bags. They may use technology, no technology, or a combination of both for information and examples of polyhedrons.
  • When students have finished, display the bags in the classroom or hallway.
  • Allow time for students to explore the contents of the bags. Students will select three bags to analyze. They must list answers to the following questions in their notebooks:
  1. Is the information correct?
  2. What was done well with the bag?
  3. What is something that could be improved upon?
  • Discuss thoughts as a class.

Polyhedron Mobile

Students will sort and display different types of polyhedrons.

Materials

  • Construction paper
  • Coat hanger for each student
  • String or yarn
  • Hole punch
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils
  • Pencils
  • Option 1 -use of Technology
    • Use the Internet and computer programs such as Microsoft Office to create polyhedrons
    • Printer to print out pictures
  • Option 2 - without Technology
    • Use construction paper or drawing paper to create your own polyhedrons

Procedure

  • Students will work with partners.
  • Each set of partners gets to create a mobile to categorize types of polyhedrons.
  • The mobiles will have three headings: Platonic Solids, Prisms, and Pyramids. There will be a description of each on the back of each heading.
  • Students must include at least 3 examples of each type of polyhedron hanging from the headings. The examples could be created with programs on the computer and printed out. They could also be formed with construction paper, or simply drawn by hand.
    • Each polyhedron must be named. A list or description of exactly how many faces, vertices, and edges each one has will also be included.
  • Allow time for students to sketch or brainstorm what they would like their mobiles to look like. Partners must decide how they are going to make their polyhedron examples.
  • Partners will work on mobiles.
  • When finished, students will present their mobiles to the class and hang them around the classroom.

Polyhedron Model

Let students show their creative side as they make their own polyhedron models.

Materials for each group

  • Toothpicks
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils
  • Resource on polyhedrons

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