My fifth grade students just finished up a unit on geometry relationships. They took the unit assessment with mixed results. I noticed that some students struggled a bit to complete problems involving geometry and formulas. Specifically, students inconsistently used formulas correctly to find volume, area and surface area. Keeping in mind that there’s only three days left of school, I balanced the idea of having students complete a brief geometry project or dive right into a review packet. I decided on the project. The project is similar to another one, but has a Hogwarts type of feel and the focus is more on surface area. I paired up students and told them that they have literally three days to complete this project as that’s how many days of school we have left. Students were given an introduction letter that basically explains that their team’s job is to create a model of a new museum. The museum must take the shape of a castle.

After briefly explaining the difference between surface area and area the class was off to creating their kingdoms. Students used nets and a map sheet to create a base for the castle.

Students were required to subtract the circle of one of the towers from the square base. That was interesting, as some students decided to count the squares, while others jumped right in and used a formula. I gave students a formula reference sheet but also had them access the OpenMathRef page. That was a fantastic resource as kids could manipulative the object to see how the surface area changes. Students also noticed that they needed to measure the slant height of the pyramids and cones. This was a new experience for them.

Students cut out the nets and glued/taped them to the map.

They had to make sure to cut out the nets correctly or they wouldn’t “close” and finish the shape. Students filled out their formula sheets after or during the construction process. One sheet was designated for the surface area and the other for floor area.

Students have made progress during the last two days.

Next week they have one day to finish. I’m planning on having those that finish complete a stop-motion video of their city with action figures. I’m looking forward to seeing the student creations.

Side note: On Friday students were given were given the opportunity to use the Crafty Cut app. Kudus to Trever for finding this gem. Basically, students are given a shape and they have to make one or two cuts to create an additional shape. We only used the free version and it worked just fine for my fifth grade class. I thought it helped kids see geometric shapes in a different light.