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Nets of Geometric Figures 2012

Nets of Geometric Solids1


Students often have difficulty in understanding how to calculate surface area. By working with geometric nets, students gain experience with the number sides in various geometric solids, and the area of each side. Physical models constructed by students help them to see, manipulate and analyze these three dimensional figures.


This lesson is one in a series of calculating areas of geometric solids and would be appropriate for 7th or 8th grade math or above, according to student abilities. The lesson should be able to be completed in one class period, but ideally would be followed up with more hands-on net projects, as well as related problems in surface area.


Students should be able to identify 3 dimensional solids given the 2 dimensional net. Students should be able to build a net for a triangular pyramid, and a triangular prism.

Students should be able to assemble the octahedron from the net.


MA.7.4.4 2000 Construct two-dimensional patterns (nets) for three-dimensional patterns objects, such as right prisms, pyramids, cylinders, and cones. MA.7.5.4 2000 Use formulas for finding the perimeter and area of basic twodimensional shapes and the surface area and volume of basic threedimensional shapes, including rectangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, triangles, circles, right prisms, and cylinders

Nets of Geometric Solids, Cindy Davies, 2012

Nets of Geometric Figures 2012


identical empty boxes for each 3-4 person group, plus one to use as an example. scissors for each group Tetrahedron template (see appendix), 1/group tape for each group Nets of cubes (see appendix) Activity page assignments Several pages of colored paper for each group (see appendix) Several pages of graph paper for each group


1. Divide students into groups. 2. Hold up an empty box (like a cracker box) 3. Ask students how to find the surface area of the box. (Students should probably answer by adding the areas of all the sides) 4. Ask if there is another way to find surface area. Students should be able to identify using the Perimeter x height plus two times the base. SA = ph + 2(area of base) 5. Give each group identical empty boxes, and a pair of scissors. 6. Ask them to CUT the box OPEN so it will lay FLAT. Students should note that CUTS should be made ALONG THE EDGES of the solid. 7. Have the students compare the boxes. There should be variations among the way the boxes were cut. Ask what the flattened box represents (the surface area). 8. Explain that the flattened figure is referred to as a NET of a geometric solid, and we are going to explore NETS of various geometric solids. The lines of the net represent edges of the figure. 9. Ask the students to sketch the NET of the box (1 per group). Ask if they are the same. (probably not) 10. Pass out paper tetrahedron nets for each group (see pattern in appendix) 11. Ask each group to cut out and fold their tetrahedron into a solid figure and tape it. Have the groups compare their solids. 12. Ask the students if this is the only net of the tetrahedron. (no) Give time for students to propose other possibilities (there is one). 13. Have students try to cut their tetrahedron apart differently than it was originally. 14. Have a student show the correct sketch on the board of the net variation. 15. Pass out the nets of cubes sheet (see appendix) 16. Ask the students if they can identify which of the diagrams on the handout represent the correct nets of cubes. Give them time for the groups to evaluate the nets, and then ask for responses. Encourage them to work together. Verify correct answers. 17. Ask someone to explain why a few of the nets that dont work. Ask 2

Nets of Geometric Figures 2012

them to explain. 18. Ask students to show how to fold a cube net to make the solid. Pass out graph paper so they can redraw the net they choose on a larger scale. 19. Have the students explain how they can verify the accuracy of the net by cutting out the model and folding it up. 20. Ask a student to demonstrate this. 21. *** DYNAMIC DEMONSTRATION if internet/projector available 22. Explain that they are going to work in groups to determine which of the following diagrams are nets of cubes. 23. Pass out the Nets of Cubes to each group, along with graph paper, scissors and tape. 24. Recommend to students that if they are unsure if a net is a valid net for the cube, they can redraw it on graph paper and see if it works. 25. Explain that each group should find all 11 nets of cubes. 26. Give time for all groups to complete the exercise, walking around observing and asking questions answering any questions. 27. When all groups are finished, have students correct their work 28. Assign homework problems with nets and surface area.


Assessment in appendix.


Nets of Geometric Figures 2012 TETRAHEDRON TEMPLATE

Note: This page should be copied one per group. It would be better enlarged at least 129%. Tell students they should cut off the tabs and use tape to connect the sides.

Nets of Geometric Figures 2012

Game with nets of cubes ( To make a net of a cube, first look at one, such as a dice. How many faces does it have? Six, so make sure that your net has six squares. Now you must work out a way to arrange six squares so they will fold up into a cube. There are eleven different ways to do this, apart from rotations (turn it round) and reflections (turn it over). See if you can find them all below. 11 nets left to find

Nets of Geometric Figures 2012

NETS of SOLIDS ASSESSMENT Use the following lesson plan for questions to copy for quiz questions. PDF available here: 1_L3_11.pdf


Nets of Geometric Figures 2012