Today, I have a little introductory lesson to share with you. This took one math session, and the kids really seemed to get it when we were done. We have started our unit on geometry and geometric solids. To introduce the concept, I played on the fact that the students already knew what a cube was. They told me there were 6 squares all put together to make the cube. So I asked the students to make a cube using grid paper.
This was really interesting, as most did what you see in the picture above. They made 6 separate squares, cut them out, and taped them all together. There were a select few though that actually did make the net to begin with, but not as many as I thought would have (as they did learn about nets in 4th grade.)
Once they had the cube constructed, I then asked them to cut it apart and form the actual net. (then there were the oohs and ahhs and Oh! Duhs! ;) ) Vocabulary learned and really, it made a quick transition to nets.
Once the net was created, we did some vocabulary talk (about faces, vertices, and edges) There were all of these really neat lightbulbs that went on. Just making the net from scratch, instead of me showing them how to do it on paper, seemed to cement the concept. I then had them to a rectangular prism on their own...which had more students starting straight away with the net than the cube, and the kids reflected upon it.
The next day, we took all of this concept development, and moved right in to Surface Area.