Copyright © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.
'Cut Nets' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
Why do this problem?
makes children think hard about the nets of various polyhedra. It is not enough to know roughly what they look like. The number and shape of the faces and the way they are connected are important. It will help to develop children's visualisation skills and increase their familiarity with appropriate
vocabulary. It provides an excellent opportunity for describing properties of 3D shapes.
You could start by talking about properties of some solid shapes with the group. One way to do this might be to hold up two shapes and ask them to talk about their similarities and differences. Depending on the children's experience you may need to explain what a net is, but they don't necessarily need to have worked extensively with nets in order to have a go at this problem.
You could introduce the problem on an interactive whiteboard or data projector but it would be helpful for children to have a copy of this sheet
in pairs and to work together so that they are able to talk through their ideas with a partner. Scissors and sticky tape would be useful!
Some children will relish the challenge of discovering for themselves which shapes have been used but some may work better knowing which they were to find. The shapes are: a cube, cuboid, tetrahedron, square pyramid, pentagonal pyramid, hexagonal pyramid, triangular prism, pentagonal prism, trapezoid prism.
How do you think these two pieces could fit together?
Which piece could go with this one?
What shape are the faces on a ...?
Learners could make some nets of these or other polyhedra and possibly cut them to make puzzles for a friend.
You could start some children off with just three shapes using, for example, pieces $B$, $E$, $F$, $K$, $L$ and $M$.