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Understanding Polygons and Polyhedrons Using Flexagons

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#### Abstract

The goal of this paper is to help students understand simple polygons and simple polyhedrons. First the project within this paper involves having students look at polygons. Though much of this information should have been learned in the fourth grade it is still important to review this material. Having the students define certain shapes illustrates their true understanding of the subject. The second part to the project within this paper is to use the student’s knowledge of polygons and build polyhedrons. In this paper the students will only have to concern themselves with squares and equilateral triangles. Here they will have to build constructions known as “flexagons.” A flexagon in short is a polyhedron constructed by using tag or poster board and cutting out patterns with wings and rubber banding them together. The third part to the project within this paper is to take all of the polygons and flexagons/polyhedrons and make them into a mobile. The mobile works as a nice way to end the project by displaying the knowledge these students have attained in a creative manner.

The Geometry Standards for Grades 3-5 from the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics web site states; students in grades three through five should be expected to know how to identify, compare, and analyze attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes and develop a vocabulary to describe the attributes of these figures. Students should also be able to classify these assorted shapes in accordance to their properties and build a distinction between the various classes of shapes. Not only should students understand the vast attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes they should also be able to create them. Students should be able to create these shapes by drawing them as well as building them. Also students should understand that three-dimensional objects are constructed from two-dimensional shapes.

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