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Supplementary Materials

for

Mathematics 314
568-314
Spatial Sense

Prepared by the following teachers with funding from a

PEOPT grant from the MEQ:
Linda CarrŽ, Richelieu Valley Regional High School
Howard Pasoff, Centennial Regional High School
Ursula Price, St. Johns High School
Michael Supino, Chambly County High School
Project Coordinator: Carolyn Gould
Layout and Design: Heather Hopkins
Spatial Sense

Activity 1

The cube is a basic solid for construction used in everyday life.

I. Describe the characteristics of a cube. You may wish to talk about angles,
edges, vertices, faces, surface area, volume, etc.

II. 1. Using the isometric dot paper, reproduce the cube shown.

3. Reproduce this solid on the isometric dot paper.

Spatial Sense Activity 1 continued

4. How many different solids can be constructed from 3 cubes? 2 For a

solid to be different, it must differ from other arrangements even when it
is rotated and/or flipped. Are the surface area and volume the same for
these different solids? surface area 14 units2 for both; volume 3 units3
for both

Reproduce these solids below.

5. How many unique solids can be made from 4 cubes? 8 As you construct
each solid record the arrangement on the isometric dot paper provided.

6. After you have constructed all the possible arrangements of two, three or
four cubes, complete the sheet entitled Cube Constructions.
Spatial Sense Activity 1 continued

2 1 0 1 2
3 1 1 2 6
4 2 6 8 32

NB. Teachers who subscribe to AIMS magazine are granted permission to copy this page for their students.
Spatial Sense Activity 1 continued

You have sorted your solids into regular (rectangular) and irregular (non-rectangular)
shapes. The irregular arrangements made from at most four cubes constitute the
Soma cube pieces.

Piet Hein conceived of the Soma cube during a

lecture on quantum physics by Werner Heisenberg.
While the noted German physicist was speaking of
a space sliced into cubes, Piet Hein’s supple
imagination caught a fleeting glimpse of the
following curious geometrical theorem. If you take
all the irregular shapes that can be formed by
combining no more than four cubes, all the same
size and joined at their faces, these shapes can be
put together to form a larger cube.
Hein named the puzzle after the drug in Huxley’s
Brave New World which created a dreamlike trance
in its users. While he invented many other puzzles,
the Soma cube is the most widely known.

Before tackling the problem of building the cube from all 7 pieces, try the “warm-up”
activities on the next page.

Note: If you are using interlocking cubes, do not lock any of the basic 7 irregular
shapes together. If you do, you will lose track of the original arrangements.

Note: These shapes are now available in a game called Block by Block™ (Puzzle
Adventures in Three Dimensions!) from Binary Arts, available in most toy stores.
Spatial Sense Activity 1 continued
7.

NB. Teachers who subscribe to AIMS magazine are granted permission to copy this page for their students.
Spatial Sense Activity 1 continued

NB. Teachers who subscribe to AIMS magazine are granted permission to copy this page for their students.
Spatial Sense

Activity 2
I. Several cubes are piled in the corner of a room.

Brain Teaser: Generalize to determine how many cubes would be needed to

build a cube of n layers. The chart below may help.

A B C D E F
Layer No. of Total # of No. of Total # of Total of Cubes
Visible Visible Invisible Invisible (C & E)

1 1 1 0 0 1

2 2 3 1 1 4

3 3 6 3 4 10

4 4 10 6 10 20

5 5 15 10 20 35

6 6 21 15 35 56

7 7 28 21 56 84
...

n n n(n+1) n(n–1) n(n+1)(n – 1)

2 2 6
Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

II. How many cubes do you see? 6 or 7 depending on the perspective from
which you view the cube.

III. How many blocks does each of these figures contain? Compare your answer
with your neighbour’s. What assumptions did each of you make when

1. 31 2. 47, 46, 45, 44 depending on

columns a and b.

b
Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

IV. How many faces does this figure have? 10

Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

• construct the solid using cubes

• copy the design
• count the number of cubes used in your design
• compare this number to the number of cubes in the solid

5

8

12

10

5) Number of cubes: __________

10

* Adapted from Spatial Visualisation, The Mathematics Teacher, vol. 77, no. 8, November 1984.
Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

VI. Reproduce the figures below.

1 2

3 4

5 6
Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

For solids 1 to 4:

• construct the solid

• take away the cube (or cubes) which are shaded and draw the resulting solid.

1 2 3 4

* Adapted from Spatial Visualisation, The Mathematics Teacher, vol. 77, no. 8, November 1984.
Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

For solids 5 to 7:

• construct the solid

• add a cube to each shaded face and draw the resulting solid

5 6 7

* Adapted from Spatial Visualisation, The Mathematics Teacher, vol. 77, no. 8, November 1984.
Spatial Sense Activity 2 continued

Brain Teasers

1) There are 14 cubes in the structure, which sits on a table. The face of each
cube has an area of 1 m 2. If you paint the exposed surface, how many square
metres do you paint?

33 m2

2) Assume that there are no cubes missing from the back of this stack.

28
(a) How many cubes are in the stack?

(b) If you painted the outside of the stack green, including the bottom, what
fraction of the cubes would have the following numbers of green faces?

6
i. 1 = 3
28 14
ii. 2 11
28
5
iii. 3
28
6 = 3
iv. 4 28 14
Activity 3 I: To be photocopied and cut into cards for distribution.

There is a red cube directly below There is a red cube directly on top
a yellow cube. of a yellow cube.

There is a green cube on the The highest cube is on the third

bottom level. level.

There are 6 cubes in all. A blue cube shares a face with a

yellow cube.

The orange cube shares a face There is a red cube on the bottom
with a green cube and two others. level.

The blue cube touches red and A yellow cube touches an orange
green cubes only along edges. cube only along an edge.

There are three cubes on the

bottom level.
Activity 3 I: To be photocopied and cut into cards for distribution.

The green cube shares one face

with each of the other five cubes.

One of the cubes is yellow.

The two red cubes do not touch The two blue cubes do not touch
each other. each other.

Each red cube shares an edge Each blue cube shares one edge
with the yellow cube. with each of the red cubes.
Spatial Sense
Activity 3
Different Views
I. Your teacher will provide you with a bag containing ten cubes: 2 green, 2 red,
2 blue, 2 yellow, 1 orange and 1 black.

Your team must construct a solid using these cubes. Each member of the
team will receive a card showing one of six characteristics of the solid. Work
together to build the solid.

Another way of representing objects is to use different views. The views of an

object are the two-dimensional pictures which you see when you stand directly
in front of each face of the object.

In the picture below, the bee sees a different picture as he flies from face to
face.

Describe the position of the bee when he sees each of the figures below.

1. view from top

left view from back

2.
top view from right

view from left

3.

front
view from front
4. view from bottom

Draw the two views which are not shown.

(with permission from Carrousel 3 (CEC))
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

Identify each one.

Left Front

Back
Top

Bottom
Right
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

IV. Knowing how to represent 3-dimensional objects in 2 dimensions is an

important skill. Taking 2-dimensional drawings of an object and building the
3-dimensional figure is also useful.

1. Build the following 3-dimensional shape using 7 cubes. The front view,
right-side view, top view and base design are shown. The base design is
the top view with numbers giving the number of cubes in each position.

2. On grid paper, sketch the front view, right-side view, top view and base
design for each of the following shapes.

(D) (E) (F)

NB. Teachers who subscribe to AIMS magazine are granted permission to copy this page for their
students.
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued
Front Right Side Top Base Design
IV. 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
A
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
2 3
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 1
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
B
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
3
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 1 1 1
•C • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 •
1 3
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 1
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

•D • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2 •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3 • 1 • 1 •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

•E • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3 • 2 •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 • 1 • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

IV. 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
F Front Right Side Top Base Design
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
2
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
2 1 1
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

IV 3. Use these 2-dimensional drawings of 3 views to build the 3-dimensional shape.

Draw the base design on grid paper.

1
3 2 Base Design
1

2 1 3
Base Design
1

1
2 2 1 Base Design
1

4. The front and top views of models built with 7 cubes are shown.

A B

2
2 22 11
11 1 1

Build the model. On grid paper, draw the right-side view and the base design.
Is there more than one solution? Compare with a classmate’s solution. (see
next page)
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

IV

• • • • • • • • • • • • •
right-side view
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •
4 B
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
or right-side view
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •
base design
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
2 2 2 or 2 1 2
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 2
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

5. Complete the following drawings

2

9
8
Spatial Sense Activity 3 - Different Views continued

1. 2.

left side

bottom

3.
top
4.

top
5.
left side front
Spatial Sense

Activity 4

Polyhedra

polyhedrons.)

Polyhedra

Convex Concave

Prisms Pyramids Other

A prism is a A pyramid is a
polyhedron with 2 polyhedron that has
parallel, congruent one base and the
bases joined by the same number of
same number of triangular faces as
parallelograms as there are sides on the
there are sides on base.
each base.

Regular Regular

Platonic Solids

cube
tetrahedron
octahedron
dodecahedron
icosahedron
Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

I. Each group will be given a set of patterns, called nets, with which to construct
certain solids. Patterns available in Mathpower 7, Teacher’s Edition.

triangular rectangular pentagonal square

pyramid pyramid pyramid pyramid

rectangular triangular pentagonal cube

prism prism prism
Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

regular regular regular regular regular regular

triangle quadrilateral pentagon hexagon octagon decagon

There are only 5 regular polyhedra.

cube tetrahedron

octahedron icosahedron

dodecahedron
Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

One Classification Scheme for Solids

Solids

solids with two parallel solids with one base solids determined by a
and congruent bases opposite a single vertex curved surface only

Solids

(polyhedrons)

convex concave cylinders cones spheres others

polyhedra polyhedra

prisms pyramids others

Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

II.

M A T H

Place the M, T and H in the correct direction and on the right face of the
diagram below so that the cube can be constructed to read MATH in exactly
the same way in which it would appear on the cube above when it is
assembled.

H M
T
Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

III. Shown below are all possible representations of hexaminos made from six
squares. Which of them can be folded to make a cube?

√ √

√ √

√ √ √ √ √

√ √
Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

IV. Shown below are the nets of several prisms. Identify the solids involved and
complete the table on the following page to discover any patterns.

triangular
prism
cube
(square prism)

pentagonal
prism
Spatial Sense Activity 4 - Building Solids from Nets continued

In this table:

3 6 5 9 11
4 8 6 12 14

5 10 7 15 17

6 12 8 18 20

7 14 9 21 23

8 16 10 24 26

--- --- --- --- ---

n 2n n+2 3n 3n+2

Can you find a pattern among the variables V, F and E? State it.

V+F=E+2

*Adapted from Woodward, Ernest and Rebecca Brown, Polyhedrons and Three-Dimensional Geometry,
in Arithmetic Teacher, April 1994, pp. 451 - 458.
Spatial Sense

Activity 5

I. Translations

Determine the solids produced by the path or traces of the following

translations.

(a) (b)

triangular
rectangular prism prism

(c) (d)

square prism or
rectangular
prism or cube
depending on
translation
distance
rectangular
prism
(e)

cylinder
Spatial Sense Activity 5 - Generating Solids Through Transformations
continued

II. Rotations

(a) Describe the solid obtained under the following rotations of 360°.

cylinder cone cone two cones on

opposite sides
of a common
base
(b) Describe the solid obtained after the following rotations of 360°.

two cones on upside down

cylinder opposite sides two cylinders “silo” or
of a common cylinder on top
base of a hemisphere
v. vi. vii. viii.

two cones on cone on cone, sphere

opposite sides
of a common
top of a cylinder,
base cylinder hemisphere
Spatial Sense

I. In each of the following illustrations a plane cuts a solid to produce two solids.

square
circle

trapezoid
triangle

rectangle
square