Introducing Nets

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.  

hands on math, concept lessons
art and math, learning through hands on math lessons
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.

nets of figures, geometry, 5th grade, 4th grade
math, 5th grade blog, teaching, education, edublog

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., teaching in room 6 blog
surface area, math, journals

The next day, we took all of this concept development, and moved right in to Surface Area. 


  1. This is great Stephanie! We don't cover geometry until the end of the year, but I will most definitely be bookmarking this! I just watched a video the other day on Teaching Channel about allowing your students to persevere, problem solve and even fail throughout a tough lesson. This inquiry based lesson allows for this! I loved seeing the different angles your students took in order to tackle this head on, and I love seeing those moments when they realize their strategy wasn't correct! Thank you so much for sharing!

    YoungTeacherLove 5th Grade Blog

    1. The letting them fail part is always the hardest...but the most rewarding too :)

  2. Awesome!! We were just talking about what Kristine mentioned above at a staff persevere while solving the problem. You are so great at doing this and so thorough at teaching math, I love it!

    I love when they say ohhh!! I told them that's why I became a teacher when they do ;)

  3. Perfect! Start this unit in about a week and will start with this! :)

  4. I love how you allowed them to struggle in order for them to each have his/her "ah ha" moment. Allowing students the opportunity to problem solve is so important and something I know I need to do a better job with...thanks for the perfect example of how to do it with nets!

  5. LOVE working with nets - and it's the PERFECT way to jump into surface area!!! We make gift bags for different occasions in class (at Christmas, to hold our Valentines, etc.) and I have the students create a net on large construction paper to make the gift bag - such a fun way to integrate geometry.


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