3D Perception

'Imagination is more important than knowledge, it is unlimited, embracing the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand' (Einstein, A. abridged version!).

In this activity you will need to use your mind's ability to create images, to imagine. What do 3D shapes look like if you cut along their edges and lay them flat. When you get home, try it, but check first that your parents don't need the box anymore. Perfume and aftershave boxes often have really unusual designs when laid flat! Hopefully you have some idea already and can start matching the correct net to the right 3D shape from the image below (see resources below for the word document):                image: www.mathworld.wolfram.com


Equipment: Scissors, A3 or A4 copy of this  3D Perceptions activity sheet.

Your teacher is going to show you the following 2D views of some 3D shapes (from www.harcourtschool.com). You have to sketch what the shape would look like in 3D, sketch it's net, and write down its name.   

Look at this selection of 433 three dimensional shapes from the website: www.mathworld.wolfram.com


  • Open the activity sheet "3D Perceptions" in the above resource section and find the net that goes with each of the 3D shapes 1,2 and 5 (be careful what assumptions you make for number 5!). Be careful, not all nets will fold into completely enclosed solids. If you are struggling, or want to check if you're right, ask your teacher if you can cut out the net and fold it up.
  • Choose any two of the remaining four nets. Sketch clearly, in boxes 3 and 4, what they would like when folded up into a 3D solid. 
  • Your teacher is going to show you three 2D views of a variety of 3D shapes. Using mini-whiteboards, or on paper, you will have to sketch their nets, sketch what they look in 3D and write down their name. This can be played in a game format: groups or teams. 
  • Now it's time to test your nets, volumes and surface area knowledge using a Os and Xs game. Find the correct answer to any of the nine questions in the Os and Xs grid (or bingo card, if you prefer!) and if you're right, you win that square. The winner is the first player to get three squares in a row.
  • Try one or all of the three extension experiences on the 3D Perception activity sheet above. 
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