Lesson: Build a Pyramid

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Lesson Objective

Students demonstrate a graphical understanding of positive and negative numbers.

Lesson Plan

 Anticipatory Set

Ask students what they know about Egypt. Where is it? (The Yemeni kids know!) What language do they speak? Can you find it on the globe?

Way, way back more than 3,000 years ago, Egypt was ruled by kings called pharoahs, you may have heard of them. They thought they were really important so they wanted to show off how big they could build buildings. Of course, they were too lazy to go out in 100 degree weather and actually build the buildings themselves, so they made slaves do it instead. (Show pictures of pyramids, depictions of building them.)When slaves built the pyramids, they needed them to be strong and stand forever. SO, they started by digging a hole so the was a strong foundation. They had to fill the hole with stones, of course, but those stones don't count as far as how high the pyramid. Those stones are in the negative area. They are only positive if they are above ground.

Guided Practice or Coaching + Checking for understanding

 A giant "ground/0" line is drawn on the board and the dashed outline of what will be the pyramid. Call students to come up and pick a brick anywhere on the pyramid. Identify the bricks as a class by numbers. (-1, -5, 10, 11). Even though there are bricks in the foundation, they are taken out of the total height of the pyramid because they are under the ground. 

Independent Practice or Assignment

Each group has a large board space where they can plan and build their own pyramid. They draw the bricks (you can provide a model brick outline) and then count them. They identify how many bricks show above the ground and explain what happened to the bricks underground. They can decorate their pyramid however they like (provide examples of hieroglyphics).

Assessment/Evaluation + Closure

Exit ticket is an integer problem that students translate into bricks on a pyramid. (-10 +5 = I started 10 bricks below ground and built up 5 bricks, but I am still 5 bricks below the ground= -5)

Reflection: Explain how I could have built up 20 bricks, but only have a pyramid that is 5 bricks tall.

Lesson Resources

egypt   Project / Lab
pyramid   Project / Lab


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