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Geometric Scavenger Hunt

by Stacy Levine How are three-dimensional shapes a part of our everyday lives?  Taken from the Saturday Enrichment Program (SEP) course "Rational Numbers in Geometry", this activity will give inquisitive second and third graders an opportunity to explore spheres, cylinders, pyramids, and more within your home (or other location, such as your neighborhood on a non-rainy day!).  Additionally, the scavenger hunt will help children learn to identify and categorize three-dimensional shapes. Materials Needed:
  • paper
  • pencil
  • variety of three-dimensional household objects (e.g. cereal box, paper towel roll, etc.)
  • timer (optional)
  1. Decide on which three-dimensional shapes will be a part of your scavenger hunt and discuss the characteristics of each (see “Additional Resources and Links” for more information).
  2. List each of the shapes from step #1 on paper, leaving enough space next to each for students to give examples.
  3. Allow time for students to search for various shapes and record objects on paper.  If desired, a timer can be used.
  4. Reconvene afterward to check objects.
Modifications for Younger or Older Students:  Younger students could take part in this same activity, with some slight modifications.  First, if students are unable to write down the examples on paper, they can draw pictures.  Additionally, instead of searching for three-dimensional shapes, two-dimensional shapes can be substituted.  For preschool aged kids, assigned shapes can be basic:  squares, circles, etc.  First or second graders can look for such shapes as parallelograms, pentagons, etc.  For older children, try giving them a digital camera to use for snapping photos of the three-dimensional items.  Another variation for older students is to write out clues ahead of time that lead them to various three-dimensional objects around the house (e.g. I am a sphere covered with pentagons and hexagons.  I have a popular sport logo on my middle.  I am usually found being kicked into goals.  Answer: soccer ball). Additional Resources and Links: Have you ever held a scavenger hunt in your home? Stacy Levin has been an instructor in the CTD Saturday Enrichment Program (SEP) since 2007. Her current course, "Final Answer" examines the multiple methods available to solve a math problem. She has a prechool-aged son.

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