Eighth Grade Uses Geometry to Build Piñatas

What do Mrs. Potato Head, the Notre Dame Leprechaun and a rainbow unicorn tiger have in common? They're all piñatas created by eighth graders in Jorge Chavez's math class. After studying 3D shapes, students put their learning into action.

"Students are exposed to lessons on three-dimensional objects during which they learn about the surface area and volumes of pyramids, prisms, cuboids, cones, spheres and cylinders, and in the case of several inquisitive students, icosahedrons and dodecahedrons," says Jorge.
The piñata project is an extension of this geometric unit. Students use their recently-learned knowledge and apply it in a real-world situation to actualize many of the measurements (including volume and surface area) that they've studied over the past three weeks.

Their task was to create a piñata using at least four different solids, one of which must be irregular. Their piñata must also include a net for each shape (a net is a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional objects), as well as its measurements. The piñata must have hollow areas for candy (not that you have to fill it) and be suitable for hanging.

"Giving the students few, but clear, rules allows for their creativity to come through, and they end up creatING bigger challenges than what I imagined," says Jorge.

Graland Country Day School

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Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.