Before jumping into the castles, I passed around our wooden geometric solids to let students get a closer look at the shapes. I also made a quick table for them to record their data. After that, we checked and debated our answers. Then, it was time to get busy building our own shapes.
Saxon provides the cube, so we all started with that. Most of the students were able to construct them easily, so we quickly moved on to other shapes. I used senteacher.org to print a mix of shapes and passed them out randomly. The cylinder was probably the hardest, with the cone coming in a close second. Finally, students selected their own third shape from a the back table. We wrote our names on the shapes and let them dry overnight.
The best part was Friday afternoon when students began to construct their castles. I randomly mixed students into five groups. With each student having 3 pieces, they had approximately 15 pieces to work with. After brainstorming and designing, they could print off an additional two shapes from senteacher.org. I love the conversations that took place as they worked together. Some were set on having the tallest castle, while others wanted theirs to be totally symmetrical. One group ended up with only a single tower as the rest of the castle fell apart when moved and another managed to glue theirs to the table, but for the most part they held together. :) When each group finished, they named their castle and recorded the total number of faced, edges, and vertices. This mostly required addition as each student already knew how many faces, edges, and vertices were in their original three shapes.
When you're finished puzzling over all the castles you're going to make with your students, head on over to Michelle's blog Making It As A Middle School Teacher to see which blog she wrote about for her Share-A-Blog Sunday post today. I'll give you a hint... it's me! ;)