For my 5th grade and pre-algebra geometry lessons, I wanted students to develop their own formulae for surface area and volume. Even with the use of K'nex, Geo-Shapes and other geometry manipulatives, some students still had difficulty visualizing how specific nets would be be transformed into 3-Dimensional shapes.
I created nets with circles at their vertices and columns along their edges to create a new logic puzzle. I spent my vacation coloring and modge podging these nets to hang throughout the classroom.
Students loved these! Even students from other classes asked for copies to take home. I was thrilled with the outcome, but that didn't mean that I couldn't find a way to further improve the project.
There are multiple nets for every 3D solid. For example, there are 11 unique nets for a cube. I wanted to be able to distinguish between cubes assembled using different nets.
This exceeded by capabilities using Paint and Microsoft Word. So, I enlisted the help of my daughter, Danielle -- my business partner, school librarian and language arts teacher. Danielle worked as a graphic designer for a local printer before she was even old enough to drive. This project suddenly took on an entirely new life. Soon, we had nets with mandalas, gardens, fireworks, stars and even Pokemon. Each weekend, students now rush to the library after class to find her newest creations.
As the school librarian, Danielle strives to put books in each child's hand that will transform "Did you do your 15 minutes of reading?" into "Stop reading and go to sleep!" As the math teacher, I strive to connect children to the beauty of logic that is the core of math, to help them see the rules of math not as confusing constraints but as guides to use for their own creations. I strive to connect children to the beauty of logic that is the core of math, to help them see the rules of math not as confusing constraints but as guides to use for their own creations.