Looking for an eccentric way to weave geometry into the fabric of real life for you students? This project is sure to silence the “coplanars” and their age old question, “When will I ever use this?” The Geometry in Real Life project applies geometry skills with a new angle: architecture.
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In this assignment, students choose one specific structure, such as a bridge or building, to demonstrate their working knowledge of their newly acquired geometry concepts. Sound easy as pi? Not quite. This rigorous project actually includes 4 “complimentary” components:
1. Essay- Students compose a 2-3 page essay about how the geometry they have learned in all three quarters is used throughout their structure. This includes an explanation of each effect’s purpose in the structure, whether it may have been designed for appearance, strength, stability, etc. Also included in this essay is a 1-2 paragraph historical background of the structure.
2. Poster Board- Students create a poster board highlighting the most important information from the essay. This should include text, pictures, diagrams, and display specific locations of relevant geometry within the structure.
3. 3D Model- Once students have researched the geometry involved in their structure and represented it in 2D on their poster board, its time to constructing a model. Whether their planes are plain or their arches are golden, each student’s unique creation guarantees them hands-on experience applying geometry to architecture. Geometry seems much less obtuse when testing materials, getting out some good old glue, and discovering first-hand the balance between form and function.
4. Oral Presentation- Students spend 3-5 minutes presenting their models and poster boards to the class. Each student covers some of the highlights from their essay, describes how their model was built, and uses their model and poster board to point out geometry vocabulary and theorems from all three quarters.
So there you have it! Give it a shot this year and don’t let another student leave thinking geometry is “pointless!" Project-based learning CAN be more than acute fantasy, even in geometry! In fact, it has been associated with higher geometry performance and improved attitudes about learning geometry. Your students may not remember a single geometry worksheet, but chances are, they’ll remember this project, and the skills they used throughout its completion. Its both practical and creative, and just one more way to make math More Than a Worksheet!
Video by Noble Woods