Top 5 Innovative Ways To Teach Plane & Solid Shapes

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solid shapes
solid shapes

WHAT ARE PLANE SHAPES?

A plane shape is a two-dimensional figure. It is a “flat” shape and does not have any depth to it. A plane figure can be constructed by using straight lines, curved lines, or a combination of both. They are called 2D shapes as they only have 2 dimensions – length and breadth. 

When plane figures are to be plotted on a graph, they only depend on two coordinates that is, X and Y. In general, any two-dimensional geometric shape is a plane shape. Let us see a broad classification of Plane shapes with some examples.

Composed of Straight Lines (Polygons)

  • Triangle
  • Quadrilateral
  • Pentagon
  • Hexagon

Composed of Curved Lines

  • Circle
  • Ellipse

WHAT ARE SOLID SHAPES?

Now let’s move on to solid shapes. These are three-dimensional shapes. If you look at objects that are used in day-to-day lives, they are all solid shapes. The phone or the laptop that you are using to read this article, a pencil, an ice cream, and so on, are all three dimensional solid figures. They are called 3D objects as they have three dimensions to them – length, breadth, and height/depth. 

When we plot a solid shape on a graph it requires the use of three coordinates, that is, X, Y, and Z. Any 3D shape is a solid figure. 

Examples of solid shapes

  • Cuboid
  • Prism
  • Cone
  • Cylinder

Once again, there are endless examples of solid shapes but only a few basic ones are listed above. 

The concept of Geometry came into existence because of these shapes. Geometry is one of the oldest branches of Mathematics which deals with the properties of space, related to shape, distance and relative positions of figures. Hence, the study of these shapes and Geometry are interlinked with each other. Geometry includes the study of surface area, volume, trigonometry, etc. They all primarily involve the study of plane and solid shapes. 

As learning about the shapes involves studying several related topics, being aware of a few techniques to help the learning process is always helpful. This article covers 5 methods which will help you in understanding these shapes, and also learn other related topics.

METHOD 1: GENERATE INTEREST

When we begin to learn about shapes, it is also interesting to learn about their origins. As mentioned earlier, shapes have given birth to one of the oldest branches of Mathematics. Knowing about their history helps you to understand why so many different studies were conducted on this subject, and how Mathematicians developed so many other sister branches based on these studies. 

Solid shapes always existed in the life of man. He came up with plane figures as a way to understand various concepts regarding 2D and 3D shapes. Thus, we need to know about surfaces and geometry while talking about these figures. 

Curves always fascinated Archimedes. He had already mastered the concept of lines and decided to explore other shapes such as circles, ellipses, parabolas, etc. Due to his interest in the subject, Archimedes came up with a detailed concept of calculating volumes of various shapes and gave the formula to calculate the volume of a sphere. 

We need to note that widespread research on this subject was also conducted by the Greeks and Egyptians before Archimedes. 

Another fragment of history associated with shapes that might interest readers is regarding Geometry. The origin of Geometry can be traced back to the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Astonishing, isn’t it? At the time, Geometry was the study of principles concerning length, angles, areas and shapes for some practical purposes such as construction. Pythagoras came up with the Pythagorean theorem based on the works of other mathematicians. Indian mathematicians such as Aryabhata and Brahmagupta did an extensive study about the computation of surface areas and volumes as well as other mathematical concepts. 

Delving into history before starting a topic not only helps in creating interest in the subject but also acts as a guide in exploring other subjects.

METHOD 2: USE OBJECTS

Perhaps one of the most effective methods to learn about shapes is trying to understand the properties of the objects used in our day-to-day lives. For example, you can use a rectangular sheet of paper and roll it to form a cylinder. You can also use a triangular piece of paper and roll that into a cone. This helps us understand how a 2D shape can be transformed into a 3D shape.

For younger students, visualizing such transformations helps in understanding the different properties of plane shapes as well as solid shapes. In the case of older students, they can theoretically create a rectangle and see what the dimensions of a corresponding cylinder look like. On completion, you can practically cut out a rectangular sheet of paper and convert it into a cylinder and see if their measurements were correct.

Students with more curious minds can take an object such as a water bottle and calculate its surface area and volume. As their confidence builds up by the execution of such activities, they will easily be able to understand the various concepts related to shapes.

METHOD 3: TAKE EXTERNAL HELP 

Shapes and other related topics can be very exhausting and challenging to learn. Classical teaching methods tend to make the subject very mundane. A lot of educators don’t take effort to clarify basic concepts and hence, students find this subject very difficult. There may be some educators who have the intention to give their students the best but might not have the correct platform to do so.

The best way to deal with such an issue is by looking for some external help, a way to teach students their daily curriculum but at the same time keeping the topics engaging and fun. Cuemath helps with all these problems. It enables teachers to educate the students using workbooks and math boxes which helps students understand concepts clearly.

You can also track a student’s progress and see the strong and weak points of the students. This aids in channelling your focus on the concepts.

As we need to focus on the holistic development of a student, supplementing teaching methods with such an online platform is a win-win situation for both students and teachers.

METHOD 4: CREATE A GAME

People from all walks of life love to play games, children more than anyone. Learning about the facts, axioms, etc., regarding planes and solid shapes is best done as a group activity. Let the students become the masters. 

You can follow a simple template to create an easy game as listed below:

  • Split students into teams. However, this activity can be tailored to individuals also.
  • Assign them topics such as triangles, spheres, etc., and ask the teams to create a set of questions.
  • Give them a day or two to prepare. Before the day of the game, have everyone mail in their questions with correct answers.
  • On the day of the game, let students quiz each other.
  • The team with the highest score wins the game.

Such an activity helps in team-building as well as improves the cognitive abilities of students. They can learn new concepts while having a lot of fun, and can also apply those concepts to simple problems. This will help in building confidence and give the students the courage to attempt and solve more complex problems. 

METHOD 5: HELP TO VISUALISE

Topics which involve plane and solid shapes need strong visualisation. It is easy to make students understand how a 2D shape looks, and the subsequent calculations. However, in the case of solid shapes, that is not always the case. A recommended method to ensure that the students have a good understanding of all the aspects regarding a particular shape is by showing them videos regarding the same.

If you can run a computer simulation which gives students an idea about solid shapes, it would be even better. Such a simulation could show the transformation of a 2D shape to a 3D shape visually computation of the surface areas computation of the volumes and so on.

Many applications are also available for this purpose. This will help students come up with creative ideas and visualise geometrical shapes and structures, making it easier for them to come up with solutions.

CONCLUSION

Concepts that are associated with Plane Shapes and Solid Shapes find use in many industries like Information and Technology, Architecture, Astronomy, Finance, etc. Thus, learning about it is very important. Equally important is teaching students in such a way that they don’t feel scared of the subject. The listed methods can act as guidelines in teaching and learning. You can build more on these suggestions and create your own innovative methods.

At the end of the day, effective communication and conveying knowledge in the best possible way is the goal. Hopefully, this article helps students, teachers and anyone looking for a new way to incorporate interesting methods into teaching/learning such challenging subjects

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