Isometric and Orthographic Drawings

30 April 2014
Isometric and orthographic drawing can be so much fun!  I like to use this lesson as a sub plan.
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Isometric and Orthographic Drawings Mini Geometry Unit - stations maze download

I have one more teaching week before review week!  I have had terrible Spring Fever this year and I'm SO ready for the school year to end.  I think I've been more antsy than the kids have been.  In planning the rest of the school year, my Geometry team and I realized that we were going to have two more teaching days than we originally thought.  I have no idea how that happened, but I'm not complaining!  Anyway, we decided to introduce isometric and orthographic drawings to our students.  It is not a topic we normally cover and it's not in our textbook, but we thought it would be great for developing their spacial reasoning.

Mrs. Awesome Geometry Teacher Friend used to teach at a public school, so she had some resources to pull from, but we were basically making the two lessons from scratch.  We had briefly touched on nets when developing the formulas for surface area and volume, but hadn't gone into much depth.  So, we started by going into depth with nets.  After that, I pulled out some blocks and we looked at isometric and orthographic views.  I had the kids practice building 3D figures by looking at top, front, and side views.  I also had them practice drawing the top, front, and side views after looking at the 3D figures.  My students used these wooden blocks we had laying around, but snap cubes may have been easier.

Isometric and Orthographic Drawings Mini Geometry Unit - stations maze download

Overall, I think the mini unit was successful.  Most of the time the students were building and drawing and there was lots of discussion.  I created a stations maze for my students to practice.  It only took my kids about 15-20 minutes to go through the entire thing.  It is part of my free resource library.  If you don't have access, you can sign up here.

Isometric and Orthographic Drawings Mini Geometry Unit - stations maze download

Isometric and Orthographic Drawings Mini Geometry Unit - stations maze download

Isometric and Orthographic Drawings Mini Geometry Unit - stations maze download

Isometric and Orthographic Drawings Mini Geometry Unit - stations maze download

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Side Note:
Sometimes it strikes me how much I've grown as a teacher in just three years.  My first year, I probably would have handed out the blocks and then gotten mad at the kids when they started playing with them.  This year, I talked to them about "appropriate block use" before I handed them out.

Mrs. E:  I want to let you use blocks during the lesson today.  They will make your life much easier.  However, if you're not going to use them properly, I'll take them away.  You'll be sad.  Let's talk about how to use blocks.  First, should you put them in your mouth?"
Students:  No.
Mary:  Did someone actually do that?  I don't know if I want to touch them now.
Mrs. E:  You'll be fine.  Is it ok to throw blocks across the room?
Students:  No.
Mrs. E:  Is it ok to flick blocks at your friend that is only two seats away?
Students:  No.
Tommy:  Dang.  That would be fun.
Mrs. E:  Is it ok to make a giant block tower, then knock them down sending them flying across the room?
Girls:  No.
Boys look crestfallen.
Mrs. E:  Is it ok to make a medium sized block tower, then knock them down sending them flying across the room?
Most students:  No.
Tommy:  Man!  It's like you're in my brain!
Mrs. E:  So how should we use the blocks?
Tommy:  So basically we can only use them for math stuff?
Mrs. E:  Yep.

Two minutes - mildly entertaining - huge difference.  Even my squirrel-y class did great.  My squirrel-y class has 14 boys and 4 girls.  Many of them are lower level students that travel through most of their classes together.  They're known as a difficult bunch.

Do you ever use "toys" in class?




Playground Project

14 April 2014
In Geometry, we just finished up our Area and Perimeter unit.  My students did a project that was inspired by an Illuminations project by NCTM.  

My students had to design their own playground.  They were given a certain amount of fencing to enclose the park and the dimensions of the playground equipment needed.  Then, they had to place their playground equipment in the park.  They also had to calculate the amount of sand and grass needed in the park.  The students also had to make a scale drawing of their playground.  I gave them the option of drawing it on a poster or creating a 3D diorama.  

Need an area and perimeter project?  This is a fun project based learning activity for middle school or high school geometry!

You can see the rubric I used here.  It isn't perfect, but it's getting better the longer I do this project.  Last year, I made the students type up their calculations and write their answers in paragraph form.  It was a pain for me to grade, and I don't think the students benefitted from typing their answers.  This year, I gave the students a table to fill in with their answers.

Honestly, I feel like this project should have been a huge grade booster for my students.  This project was created by NCTM for middle school, but I did beef it up a little bit for high school.  However, about half of my students didn't follow directions at all and ended up missing free points.  I can't say that I'm surprised.

Here are some of the final projects from my kids last year and this year.  Some of them are so creative!

Playground Project - using perimeter and area in geometry
Everything moves!  The see-saws move and the swing moves back and forth.

Playground Project - using perimeter and area in geometry


Playground Project - using perimeter and area in geometry


Playground Project - using perimeter and area in geometry


Playground Project - using perimeter and area in geometry
The monkey on the jungle gym totally cracks me up.

Playground Project - using perimeter and area in geometry
Notice the Lego man on the swing?

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