Paper Folding to Make Cubes

Koshy Kanicherilnalil Chicago Public Schools
1819 West Pershing Road
Chicago IL 60609
(312) 535-7615

Objectives: Students will examine patterns of figures composed of six-squares and predict which of the twenty presented could be folded to make a cube. Then students will fold large-scale patterns of these figures to confirm their hunches. This exercise will develop the student's ability to visualize three- dimensional objects from two-dimensional patterns. Materials: Overhead projector transparencies of the pattern sheet and the record sheets; printed copies of the same sheets, one for each student; scissors, marking pens, etc. Construction or other extra-heavy weight paper to make multiple-quantities of the patterns, made with ruler, protractor, X-Acto knife and ball point pen. Strategy: Group students into cooperative learning teams of three or four. Ask each team to close their eyes and visualize a "cube." Is it a box? Are the sides (faces) identical or different? Is the box ("cube") open or closed? Can they name any everyday objects which have cubical shape? Then distribute the pattern and record sheets to each team. Have them decide if a pattern will fold into a cube. Mark answers on the record sheets. Teams will report their conclusions to the teacher who will enter results on the transparency. Finally, distribute sets of the large-scale cut out patterns to each team and ask them to fold each to make a cube. As the pattern numbers will match the printed pattern sheet, the team will be able to compare, discuss and perhaps revise their original judgements regarding foldability. With better or older classes, this unit may be extended by asking the class if they are familiar with games played with cubes. Many will respond, "Dice" or "Craps." Enter a discussion of how the faces are numbered on such a game piece: Opposite faces are numbered to add to seven. Then distribute a third page to each team containing just the successful folding patterns with only a few of the faces numbered. The team is to consult and decide upon the numbers to be entered on the blank faces to make legal dice. Acknowledgement: Mr. Larry Freeman, of Kenwood Academy, my group's mentor and also a member of the SMILE staff in the Summer of 1993 has been of great help in making available his personal library materials and in offering many helpful suggestions for this project's development.
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