Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Three-Dimensional Play Dough
Citrus County Schools
This hands-on lesson is an excellent review for three-dimensional figures. The students make models of three-dimensional figures and then use these play dough figures to observe and count the vertices, edges, and faces.
The student uses appropriate geometric vocabulary to describe properties and attributes of two- and three-dimensional figures (for example, faces, edges, vertices, diameter).
-Play dough (See Associated File for recipe)
-Toothpicks (1/2 box per 4-6 students)
-Three-Dimensional Figures chart, one per student (See Associated File)
-Gallon-size Ziploc bags
-Three-dimensional wooden or plastic solids
1. Make play dough at least a day ahead. (See Associated File for recipe)
2. Divide play dough so each group has enough to work with. Put in gallon-size baggies for easy distribution.
3. Copy the Three-Dimensional Figures chart, one per student. (See Associated File)
4. Purchase ½ box of toothpicks per small group of 4-6 students.
5. Gather three-dimensional wooden or plastic models.
1. Put class in small groups of four to six students.
2. Tell the students that they will get to play with play dough today. Distribute the play dough to the class. Let them play with this for about five minutes. (This is so they will listen to you when you give directions for the lesson.)
3. While the students are playing with the play dough, distribute the Three-Dimensional Figures chart (See Associated File), three-dimensional wooden or plastic solids, and a box of toothpicks to each small group.
4. At the end of five minutes, ask the class to put their play dough in a pile on their desk and listen to you for a few minutes while you give directions. Ask the students what they think play dough and three-dimensional objects have in common. Give time for feedback, then continue.
5. Review the three-dimensional shapes--square pyramid, cube, rectangular prism, triangular prism, triangular pyramid--as well as the terms edges, faces, and vertices.
6. Model for the students how to make a cube using a small ball of play dough and toothpicks.
7. When you complete the cube ask: What do we call the GLOB of play dough where all the toothpicks come together? Since this is a review, they should all answer vertex. How many vertices does the cube have? (8 vertices) Next ask what the toothpicks are on the model. They should answer the edges. How many edges does the cube have? (12 edges) Last, ask what the flat surface that is resting on the desk is called. The class should answer face. How many faces does the cube have? (6 faces)
8. Have the students look at the Three-Dimensional Figures chart that you passed out earlier in the lesson. With the cube you made, direct the students to fill in the information for the cube.
9. Tell the class that they need to make a model of each of the three-dimensional figures on the handout and fill in the empty boxes. Students may use the three-dimensional solids to help them make their models. Remind the class that their models should look as much like the examples on the chart or the three-dimensional solids as possible. Tell the class that they can discuss among their small group the answers on the chart.
10. Ask: Are there any questions?
11. Circulate around the classroom looking at the models, and giving feedback to the students.
12. When there is about ten minutes left of class, go over the chart with the students.
13. Allow time for clean up. Collect any extra toothpicks.
14. At the end of class, ask the students to get out their Math Journals and make an entry. In this entry they need to describe each of the three-dimensional figures they just made. The students should include, but are not limited to, the vocabulary on the Three-Dimensional Figures chart (figure, face, vertex, edge, cube, triangular pyramid, triangular prism, square pyramid, rectangular prism, three-dimensional).
1. Teacher's observation determines if the students' three-dimensional models look like the given diagrams.
2. The students discuss in their small groups the number of vertices, edges, and faces of each shape and fill in the Three-Dimensional Figures chart.
3. The students describe in their Math Journals each of the three-dimensional figures they just made. The students should include, but are not limited to, the vocabulary on the Three-Dimensional Figures chart (figure, face, vertex, edge, cube, triangular pyramid, triangular prism, square pyramid, rectangular prism, three-dimensional).
The students make models of three-dimensional shapes when given a diagram. The students then record on the Three-Dimensional Figures chart the number of vertices, edges, and faces they count on their models.
For a review lesson on measuring, have students measure out and mix the play dough the day before.