Teacher Prep Time
1 hour
Grouping
I ndividual
 Class
 Teams
Materials
Paper and pencils
Prizes (optional)
Building supplies
Items to create a color booklet e.g., crayons, colored markers, paints, computer & color printer, etc.


Activity 1
Draw samples of geometric shapes on the board and discuss them with the class.
Present the students with the definition of each shape and one example of each in
use. Then ask the students to brainstorm as many applications of each shape as
possible. Ask the class to research and find additional geometric shapes, then to
present their findings to the class. You can make this a contest with rewards for
the number of shapes that each student discovers and a grand prize for the student
who lists the most shapes.
Activity 2
Discuss the properties of shapes selected to meet the students' learning level.
Explain methods used to measure these shapes. Divide the class into teams of four
students and ask each to create a treasure map for the other teams to follow. The
hints on the map will incorporate shapes and their measurements. Review the
maps and verify their accuracy. Each team should have a copy of the other teams'
maps and should hide a set of treasures so there is one for the other teams to find
and collect. Let the teams follow the treasure maps so no two are on the same trail
at the same time and see if they can find the treasures. As a class, discuss the
different maps and hints to determine which were the most fun, creative, common,
difficult to figure out, etc.
Activity 3
Ask the class to research the world's tallest structures in order to examine the
shapes contained in their construction. Discuss the findings and identify the three
most prevalent shapes not including straight "lines," such as beams. Then, divide
the class into three groups and ask each to use its findings to build the tallest
structure possible. One group must use only the most prevalent shape, the next
must use the two most prevalent, and the third must use all three of the most
prevalent shapes. The shapes may be repeated as many times as the groups wish,
but may not be gratuitous attachments.
All structures must be made of the same lightweight material such as paper, balsa
wood, straws, etc., and a material that can connect the components. Each structure
must rest entirely within its 12" square, but may use any amount of the material in
its solution. Measure the solutions and ask the students to draw a conclusion from
its observation. Consider which shape had the most impact? Is a mix of shapes
more important than using only one shape?
Follow up this activity by challenging students to find and record repeated patterns
of shapes in nature and where they were found. Discuss the findings and compare
them with the findings from human construction found in research and in the
structures. As a class, create a flip through booklet that shows a shape on one side
and an example of where it can be found in nature on the opposite page. Share the
booklet with young students to see if it helps them learn about shapes.

