Reflection: Rigor Building Santa's Workshop - Section 1: Setting Up the Learning


In this lesson, I added a focus I haven't done when I have taught this lesson in the past. I added in the focus on structure-why does this building stand up or fall down? This question has students think about MP7, make use of structure, in that they are consistently thinking about what patterns they are seeing in buildings that stand up vs. buildings that fall down.

My students particularly noticed that size of shapes matters when they are working to create a strong composite shape. We had a great discussion about 2 composite shapes. One had a small cube on the bottom, while another one had a large cube on the bottom. My question was: Both of these shapes have a cube at the base, why don't they both stand up? This discussion pushed students to notice what aspect of the shape that fell made it not as sturdy.

We had a similar discussion about vertices. Anytime I used a pyramid as the base, the shape fell. This led students to create some conjectures that shapes cannot balance on the apex of a pyramid, and that pyramids are not smart foundations for their shapes.

This repeated concrete practice led to some rigorous take aways about the nature of shapes!

  Rigorous Focus
  Rigor: Rigorous Focus
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Building Santa's Workshop

Unit 7: Shapes and Blocks
Lesson 10 of 10

Objective: SWBAT explore how to create composite shapes out of 3D figures.

Big Idea: Students think critically about how 3D shapes fit together in different ways to create strong structures that stand up.

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