Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Virtual Polyhedra and the Real World
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

This lesson is divided into three sections:
Prep-- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps-- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips-- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Construct several models of polyhedra in advance to anticipate difficulties that students may have. These can be displayed as examples during the lesson. If possible, provide many different sizes of the templates.

Materials (per group of three students)
The following materials are recommended:

  • copies of paper templates (at least two or three per student)
  • scissors
  • one roll of transparent tape and/or rubber cement
  • a few toothpicks or Popsicle sticks to be used as "probes" to help secure final edges
  • computer with Web access, draw program such as ClarisWorks, HTML editor such as PageMill or Claris Homepage
  • paper, pens, or crayons
  • ruler

    Computer Resources:
    You will need at least one multImedia computer workstation with Internet access. We recommend, as a minimum, using Macintosh II series running System 7.0 or higher, or a 386 IBM-compatible PC running Windows 3.1 or higher. We also recommend a minimum modem speed of 14.4K bps, though 28.8K bps is preferable.

    Bookmark the following sites for easy access:
    Virtual Reality Polyhedra.

    Henry Chasey's Polyhedra Model Collection.

    Uniform Polyhedra.


    1. Virtual Reality Polyhedra.
    This site is self-contained and easy to explore. It includes interactive exercizes for all models.

    Activity: Students should print a polyhedron template and construct simple paper models from it. Have students create their own templates using rulers, protractors, and compasses, or computer graphics software such as ClarisWorks.

    2. Henry Chasey's Polyhedra Model Collection.
    URL: (
    This site has models of polyhedra created by Henry Chasey. It provides an overview for students to consider when building their own models.

    Activity: Have students create projects that incorporate the information presented at this site. Possibilities include using different media (cardboard, wood, Plexiglas, straws, toothpicks, etc.), different manipulative kits, or different approaches to the topic (bubble film experiments, 3D illusions). This project can be assigned as homework or as a hands-on class activity depending on availability of tools and materials. The manipulative kits are an excellent way to provide students with high-quality activities that reinforce many concepts of polyhedra.

    3. Uniform Polyhedra.
    URL: (
    This site contains thumbnails and large pictures of uniform polyhedra. Each image can be scaled and printed.

    Activity: Print out the templates presented at this site and use them to create paper polyhedron models. Using a drawing program or a ruler, have students create their own templates.


    Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space is ideal for doing the Virtual polyhedra. Even so, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is also often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time and make suggestions, so you can be sure that students have a starting point.

    The One Computer Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc. from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (It may be efficient to have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer.) When the group has finished, have them switch places with the group doing paper research.

    Look for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to one of the Web sites presented in this lesson. Review the information on the page together, then print any information that you think is relevant. Go to a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria for your topic, and do a Web search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students