15 March, 2010

Cheers for Spheres!

Geometry is a fun and practical branch of mathematics that can be taught early on. Plane (flat, or two-dimensional) shapes are easily identified, but explaining the concept of three-dimensional shapes to young children, however; can be a challenge. In order to do it, you must first present the concept of volume. 

Generally speaking, volume is "the amount of 'space' a solid object occupies (Wolfram Mathworld.com, 2010). An easy way to say this is that dimensional shapes have volume, or space inside of them. A sphere is a good place to start.

A sphere is a round shape with space in the middle. More specifically, it is a shape in which all points are the same distance (radius) from the center point (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2010). Click here for a more detailed mathematical explanation of a sphere. A fun way to learn about shapes is to make them.  
So, Try this:

  • 1 balloon
  • 5-10 sheets of construction paper (or newspaper), cut into 2 inch strips
  • Glue- I used Mod Podge as it works better for this project than tacky glue
  • Scissors
  1. Blow up the balloon and tie it off. Try to make it as round as possible.
  2. Using a sponge, cover the balloon in glue. Warning: This is a sloppy, gloppy project!
  3. Adhere the strips of paper to the balloon. Cover the entire surface of the balloon, except for a 5 cm. hole at the bottom where the tie is.
  4. Using, the sponge again, cover the entire surface of the balloon in glue. Try to pat down any strips of paper.
  5. Let it dry overnight. (Put it in an egg container or a basket so that it won't stick to something while it is drying)
  6. Using a scissor, pop the balloon. The balloon will be stuck to the strips of paper, so you will have to peel it off the inside. (This is what the little hole in the bottom is for)
  7. Now you have a sphere with a peek hole.
  8. So, peek inside. See all of that space inside of the round shape? That is volume, and the shape itself? That is a sphere!
Sphere project idea thanks to:  http://unplugyourkids.com/

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