Friday, July 20, 2012

Math Creations with Chick Peas

Here is a fun activity I do with my kids when we review over 3d figures.  I like to do this before we get into surface area and volume.  Let's face it!  If they don't know which figure they are dealing with then the surface area and volume will more than likely be wrong!

Chick Pea Activity

Materials Needed:  Chick Peas, toothpicks, baggies or cups

Preparation:  You can purchase the peas in a can or dry in a bag like black eye peas.
The ones in the bag are much easier!  Just let them soak in water overnight.  The ones in a can stink!  Drain the water out, and they are ready to use.  Before each class, put about 1/3 cup of peas in a cup or baggie with some toothpicks.  Keep extras at the front for the kids to come up and replenish if necessary.

Objective:  Create 3d figures using chick peas and toothpicks.  The peas are used for the vertices of the figure, and the toothpicks are connected through the pea.  The students are able to create the figure, using a hands-on activity.  They are also able to make connections between the prism and pyramid. 

Square Pyramid
Rectangular prism (remember a cube is still a prism)
Triangular Pyramid
Triangular Prism

After creating the four figures, have the students:
List the similarities and differences (at least two) between:

Triangular Pyramid and Square Pyramid
            Triangular Pyramid and Triangular Prism
Triangular Prism and Square Pyramid
Triangular Prism and \Rectangular Prism
Rectangular Prism and Square Pyramid
Rectangular Prism and Triangular Pyramid
Identify the shapes of the faces for each
Identify the shapes of the base(s) for each
Calculate the number of edges for each
Calculate the number of vertices for each

Extension:  If time allows, have the students create a different pyramid and prism.  Tell them they must be able to correctly name the figure.

Conclusion:  Discuss some of the similarities and differences as a class.  Make sure you go over the shapes of the faces for the pyramids and prisms.  Remind them how each figure is named for the shape of the base.  Also, the base is not necessarily what the figure is sitting on. 

Clean up:  For less mess, have the students dismantle the figures.  Place the toothpicks and unused peas back in the cup, and the used chick peas can be thrown away.  Keep a couple to use for examples.  Some kids will want to take at least one of the creations with them!

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