Education Technology

Exploring Platonic Solids

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

This activity is best at the very beginning of a unit on solids. Students will observe Platonic solids using an interactive website (from the NLVM) projected to the whole class. Students will predict the number of edges, vertices, and faces of the five solids and record their predictions on a LearnCheck file and a worksheet. The predictions are collected, then the website is used to display the correct answers. Repeat the process for a related site which shows the "dual" of each of the solids.

Before the Activity

Student worksheet must be downloaded and copied before the activity.

The teacher should be familiar with navigating the features of the website (from the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives) for displaying to the class. To check out the site, go to http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/category_g_4_t_3.html and scroll down to "Platonic Solids".

During the Activity

Directions for the teacher are included on the second page of the student worksheet. The two parts of the activity require two different LearnCheck files (five questions each).

After the Activity

Recognize the student(s) that did a particularly good job at guessing/observing the features of the Platonic solids. Introduce Euler's theorem on the relationship of the number of edges, vertices and faces.