How can we as teachers begin to introduce 3D ideas to young children? Where do they start? How can we lay the foundations for a later enthusiasm for working in three dimensions?
This task develops spatial reasoning skills. By framing and asking questions a member of the team has to find out what mathematical object they have chosen.
A description of how to make the five Platonic solids out of paper.
Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
Can you number the vertices, edges and faces of a tetrahedron so that the number on each edge is the mean of the numbers on the adjacent vertices and the mean of the numbers on the adjacent faces?
Each of these solids is made up with 3 squares and a triangle around each vertex. Each has a total of 18 square faces and 8 faces that are equilateral triangles. How many faces, edges and vertices. . . .
This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.
Is it possible to have a tetrahedron whose six edges have lengths 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 units?
In a recent workshop, students made these solids. Can you think of reasons why I might have grouped the solids in the way I have before taking the pictures?
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.
An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles. Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
These models have appeared around the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. Perhaps you would like to try to make some similar models of your own.
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
A very mathematical light - what can you see?
Follow instructions to fold sheets of A4 paper into pentagons and assemble them to form a dodecahedron. Calculate the error in the angle of the not perfectly regular pentagons you make.
Interior angles can help us to work out which polygons will tessellate. Can we use similar ideas to predict which polygons combine to create semi-regular solids?
In this article, we look at solids constructed using symmetries of their faces.