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This activity investigates and compares the surface areas and lateral areas of prisms in a photo story





Title – Discovering by Measuring – Surface Area
By – Jaime Villarreal
Primary Subject – Math
Grade Level – 10th

Concept / Topic To Teach:

    Using formulas to find surface area of two and three dimensional objects and using percentages to compare.

Standards Addressed:

  • Measurement
  • Using percentages to compare
  • Using formulas to find area

General Goal(s):

  • Student recognizes that mathematics is developed for a variety of purposes
  • Student selects an appropriate representation (concrete, pictorial, graphical, verbal or symbolic) in order to solve problems.
  • Student uses nets to represent and construct 3-dimensional objects.
  • Student finds surface area of two and three dimensional objects.

Specific Objectives:

  • Investigate the surface areas and lateral areas of prisms.
  • Use surface areas of prisms in daily life, from CD cases and videocassette boxes to cereal boxes.
  • Use PhotoStory 3 software to display process of investigation in order to answer the following questions:
    • How does an unfolded and flattened prism-shaped package differ from a net or a prism?
    • Compare the percents you calculated. What did you find out about the amount of extra material needed for prism-shaped containers?
    • Why would a manufacturer be concerned about the surface area of a package? About the amount of material used to make the package?

Required Materials:

  • Some empty cardboard containers shaped like prisms.
  • Rulers
  • Calculator

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

    Teacher will model how to measure a prism-shaped box and calculate the surface area. Then teacher will open up box to create the net shape of the box and find total area of net. Finally, teacher will calculate excess percentage of net shape compared to the 3-dimensional shape.

Step-By-Step Procedures:

  1. Measure each container and calculate surface area (take photos of each shape).
  2. Flatten each container by carefully separating the places where it has been glued together. (take photos)
  3. Find the total are of the packaging material used.
  4. For each container, find the percent by which the area of the packaging material exceeds the surface area of the container.
  5. Create PhotoStory 3 presentation.
  6. Provide complete sentence answers the questions provided.

E-Mail Jaime Villarreal !

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