Math and Design

In teaching a Math Studies class to Grades 11 and 12, I chose to have a practical exercise to Geometry. Students were challenged to design and construct birdhouses using as many regular geometric shapes as possible. I collaborated with the Design Technology department. Students were given a sheet of plywood 1 meter x 1 meter and they needed to figure out how to lay out as many pieces, while minimizing waste. To encourage designs beyond rectangular shapes, awards were given for “Most Shapes Used,” “Most Artistic Design,” and “Least Waste Generated.” When the birdhouses were completed, the students calculated the surface area and volume of their finished birdhouse. One unexpected outcome was observing that students recognized the added difficulty in joining physical three-dimensional objects, vs. drawing two-Dimensional shapes.