Community Geometry (Grade Levels: 3  7)
Building Materials
 Community Geometry
 Career Connections  More Math Concepts
The
great thing about geometry is that it is all around
us! And the architecture of buildings and objects provides
a perfect setting for students to look at and find shapes
and geometric properties. It is wonderful to help students
to see the mathematics in the shapes and designs of
the world around them.
You
might use some or all of these activities:
Create
a geometry slide show:
Take slides of architectural structures and objects
that represent different figures and types of geometry
and mathematics. This can include slides from other
places but should also include slides of buildings or
objects that the students will easily recognize as being
in their school and community. You can use these slides
at the beginning of the geometry unit when you are learning
about or reviewing names of different object and their
properties. Slides work well for this activity because
they allow everyone to see the same picture at the same
time and to talk about the geometry in that picture.
Students
take geometry pictures:
Once your students are thinking about geometry in the
world around them, then you can send them in search
of other places where they see geometry in their world.
One option is for them to tell you where to go to take
a picture. Another option is to purchase a couple of
disposable cameras and allot each student 2 or 3 pictures.
If your school has a digital camera, you might be able
to use it for this purpose, too. Once the pictures are
developed, have students work with one (or more) of
their own pictures and write a paragraph about all of
the geometry in the picture. Mount students' pictures
and paragraphs to make a wonderful bulletin board that
everyone can enjoy.
The
nice part of this activity is that it is fun and works
for students of all ages!
Here
are some ideas to get you started looking for geometry
in your community.
Windows:
Look for shapes, such as squares, rectangles, parallelograms
(especially on cars), semicircles, hexagons, octagons,
and more. Also look for different types of angles, symmetry,
rotations, congruence, etc.
Brick
patios and walls: Bricks come in lots of different
shapes, and they tessellate (completely fill the plane).
Roofs:
Are there any roofs in your community that are cones?
You can probably find roofs made up of triangles, rectangles,
and trapezoids.
Fountains:
Is the fountain part of a sphere or rectangular solid?
Arching water forms the shape of a parabola. Fountains
often have some symmetry to them, too.
Look
around! Where do you see triangles, hexagons, pentagons,
octagons and other polygons? Where do you see threedimensional
solids such as triangular prisms, rectangular prisms,
and other types of prisms? Where you see triangular
pyramids, rectangular pyramids, and other types of pyramids?
(Pyramids come to a point, and their sides are triangles.
Prisms have the same shape on the top and bottom, and
their sides are quadrilaterals.) Are there any cylinders
in your town? Are there any cone shapes in the architecture
in your town?
Also,
watch for different shapes put together to form an object.
What shapes make up a water tower? A street light?
You
and your students won't see your world in the same way
after this project!
