Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Construct Regular Polygons Inscribed in Circles - Section 2: Student Constructions


I've often wrestled with how I should teach constructions. Should I just give the students the steps and have them memorize? Should I show them the steps and require them to explain why they work? Or should I try to give them the knowledge they need to actually come up with the steps on their own. I've tended to go back and forth between the last two choices. In this lesson, for example, I could give the students the steps and I'm sure they'd have them memorized in less than 15 minutes. But there is so much embedded math practice in performing constructions that would be lost using that approach.

For example in this lesson, students will need to understand the idea that a compass is useful for making markings at equal distances from some point. They also will need to think about central angles of inscribed regular polygons and properties of equilateral triangles and rhombuses. 

So, in the end, I just couldn't justify passing up the opportunity to have students to get practice really engaging with mathematics, not just the steps, of construction.

  Constructions: To give the steps or not to?
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Constructions: To give the steps or not to?
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Construct Regular Polygons Inscribed in Circles

Unit 10: Areas of Plane Figures
Lesson 4 of 8

Objective: SWBAT construct equilateral triangles, squares, and regular hexagons in circles

Big Idea: Construction without Blueprints? Is that permitted?

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  60 minutes
hand compass
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