3. Using practical work to consolidate learning

In this part, we move to a more formal exploration of different shapes through using activities that involve pupils making careful observations before making some different 3D objects themselves. Resource 4: 3D objects provides a useful summary of pupils’ learning so far.

Case Study 3: Making polyhedra into mobiles

Mrs Bako wanted to extend her Primary 5 class’s understanding by building some polyhedra to make a new set of mobiles to hang in her classroom. She asked her pupils to group themselves into teams of six to eight and gave each group scissors, card and glue. She asked each group to make 32 equilateral triangles, 6 squares and 12 pentagons. She wrote the dimensions for each shape on the board.

She asked them to investigate how many different polyhedra they could make with their polygons by following these rules:

  • Use one type of polygon at a time to make the polyhedron.
  • The polyhedron must be a closed shape. All the edges must join up.

The pupils really enjoyed the task.

Next, she gave them nets of regular polyhedra and asked them to cut them out neatly, fold them and paste them to make polyhedra (see Resource 3). They found that the shapes they built were the same as the polyhedra they had discovered.

She discussed whether it was easier to make the nets into polyhedra or easier having the shapes loose. Most pupils agreed the nets were quicker.

Key Activity: Features of regular 2D shapes and 3D objects

First, consolidate pupils’ learning from earlier activities. For this, you will need your box of shapes and objects and charts to record results (see Resource 5: Recording results) or ask your pupils to draw the two charts in their books.

Organise your pupils into pairs or small groups. Give them one of the items from your shapes box, and ask them to carefully look at the shape and complete the chart as best they can.

Suggest they complete a row at a time. Ask them to return their shape to the box and take another one until they have looked at every shape.

After an appropriate time, ask one pair or group to give their answers to the class for one shape. Go round the class until all the shapes’ features have been shared and each pair has been able to check their answers against everyone else’s.

Ask them if they noticed any patterns in their observations. Which shapes and objects are related?

Display their charts.

You might want to use the game ‘Shape Challenge’ in Resource 5 to finish this topic and assess their understanding as they play. You could divide the class into teams to play.

You may need to use a double lesson for this activity.

2. A cross-curricular approach

Resource 1: Collecting and making shapes and objects