Science Activity
#5 - Shapes and Polyhedra
All experiments must be done in the presence of a parent or teacher.
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Ideas
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Key Words
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Materials
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Procedure
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Observations
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Summary
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Questions
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WWW Links

Ideas to be Developed
Through chemistry, a variety of three dimensional shapes and polyhedra can be found in nature. In order to be able to identify some of these different shapes students need to be able to identify the characteristics of each one.

Key Words
  • cube - has three squares at each corner
  • tetrahedron - has three equilateral triangles at each corner
  • dodecahedron - has three regular pentagons at each corner
  • octahedron - has four equilateral triangles at each corner
  • icosahedron - has five equilateral triangles at each corner
 

Materials Required

Each student will need:

  • 15 straws
  • 60 small paper clips
  • 30 thin rubber bands

Procedure
Straw structures:
http://www.georgehart.com/virtual-polyhedra/straw-tensegrity.html

Folding polyhedra:
Click for the paper models of the polyhedra. Cut, fold along all the lines, and use a glue stick to glue the tabs to form each of the following shapes. Click here to view how they fold into the 3-D shapes.
cube tetrahedron dodecahedron octahedron icosahedron
bucky ball

Observations
  • students will identify the name of the shape they have built
  • students will describe the characteristics of the shape they have built

Summary

Questions
Exercise: Get to know these polyhedra and the relationships between them by counting the number of faces, edges, and vertices found in each of these five models. Make a table with the fifteen answers and notice that only six different numbers appear in the fifteen slots.

Fill in this table:

  # faces # edges # vertices
tetrahedron __________ __________ __________
cube __________ __________ __________
octahedron __________ __________ __________
dodecahedron __________ __________ __________
icosahedron __________ __________ __________

WWW Links

1. Puzzles with polyhedra and numbers

At this site one can print copies of polyhedron puzzles (for non-commercial purposes only) and read several mathematical articles on the subject.

2. http://www.georgehart.com/virtual-polyhedra/platonic-info.html

3. http://www.georgehart.com/virtual-polyhedra/straw-tensegrity.html

4. Watch the polyhedra fold and unfold


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Ideas
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Key Words
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Materials
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Procedure
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Observations
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Summary
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Questions
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WWW Links

Howard Debeck Elementary School
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