The student will create a definition for the term "structure."
(PA Science & Technology Standards: 3.2.4B, 3.4.4A)
The student will create a structure from geometric shapes.
(PA Science & Technology Standard: 3.2.4D; PA Math Standards: 2.9.3A, B, &D)
Observing, Inferring, Classifying, Communicating, Defining Operationally
Chart paper for brainstormed list
Teacher's Notes: List of structures for reference (see below)
Pictures of shapes found in structures (poster or overhead transparency)
Large sheets of construction paper
Glue sticks or other adhesive
Variety of geometric shapes (such as tangrams)
Worksheet: "My Geometric Structure"
Two 30 - 45 minute periods (one day for concept development and planning; one day for construction of structure)
1. Begin with a question, "What is a structure?" Have students pair-share for a few minutes and then share thoughts with the whole class. List ideas on board or chart paper. Using these ideas, have students suggest/refine one or more definitions for the term "structure." Compare these student-generated definitions with the dictionary definition.
2. Brainstorm a list of forms or shapes that fit the definition of a structure. This can be done first as a cooperative group brainstorm and then as a sharing session with the whole class. Share additional examples from your notes or reference list to broaden the students' understanding. Introduce the idea that structures often meet needs and have the students identify the needs met by some of the structures.
3. Tell students that their assignment is to create a structure using geometric shapes. Model this process by showing pictures or overheads of structures and tracing the geometric shapes that compose it. (For example: house = square + triangle. Review shapes and names if necessary.)
NOTE: Students can learn about shapes and their structural characteristics at the following web site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/lab/shapes.html
4. Allow students to use precut shapes or create their own. Have then plan a structure on paper. Be sure they lay out the design and check it with the teacher before they glue it down.
5. Have students complete the "My Geometric Structure" worksheet that explains their creation and justifies that it meets the definition of a structure. (This can also be done as a journal entry).
A structure can be defined as an organized arrangement of materials and can be natural or human-made. The following are examples of natural world structures in terms of form, materials, and construction principles. Pictures of these natural structures may be used to elicit discussion about what humans have constructed using similar materials and approaches. The reverse can also be done. That is, you can show a picture of a human structure and ask the students to make an analogy to the natural world.
Pile of stones, hill
Den, burrow, lair
Bird, squirrel, and chimpanzee net
Turtle shell, egg shell
Turtle shell, porcupine quills
Underground tunnels, hills of ants or termites
Column, pillar, post
Triangulation, truss, suspension bridge
Mortared wall, dome
Insulated room (protected from weather)
Portable home, trailer, tent
Subway system, tunnels, corridor
Modular building - repeated form
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