Students will make a 3-D pattern for a birdhouse using centimeter dot paper and construct a rapid prototype. After assembling 3-D pattern, students will estimate the surface area of their prototype in square centimeters, giving a "too low" and "too high" estimate. After a gallery walk, students will revise/transfer their design to foam core [or cardboard or other material] and build a sturdy birdhouse. In the following math lesson, students will gain understanding of area using geoboards, and calculate the surface area of their birdhouses.

The mathematical ideas explored in this cycle build are part of a 3rd to 6th grade progression. In grade 3, students are introduced to the square unit as a measure of area (3.MD.5-7). In grade 4, students apply area to rectilinear objects in real world problems (4.MD.3), which lays the foundation for finding area for non-rectilinear objects in grade 6 (6.G.1) and representing three-dimensional figures using nets (6.G.4). Area formulas are not the goal (but may be “discovered”); the goal is a deep understanding of area as an attribute of plane figures.

Students will build a maker mindset and will experience rapid prototyping.

**Challenge Overview**

Students will build a birdhouse and use it to understand surface area. Students will design a rapid prototype/pattern using centimeter dot paper and tape. No face can be larger than a half sheet of dot paper.

After a “gallery walk” and a synthesis discussion, teams will have another block of time to build their final birdhouse out of foam core and tape.

Students will work on building linear measurement skills. Students will develop understanding of the ideas of area and surface area.

The follow-up lessons need the dimensions, in centimeters, of each face of the birdhouse. These can be discerned from the dot paper. Corners on the prototype should align with dots on the dot paper. Students will use geoboards to deepen their understanding of area. http://www.mathlearningcenter.org/web-apps/geoboard/

It is critical that teams wrestle with design challenges on their own, without teacher design assistance.

### Prior Experience:

Linear measurement, single digit multiplication (possible third grade experiences with area).

### Learning Cycle Wrapup:

Teacher summary

### Assessment:

Some interesting questions:

- What's the right material for the final birdhouse? Foam core makes a nice, stiff bird house but it's costlier than cardboard and it's got enough to thickness (1/8 inch to 3/16 inch) to throw off measurements. Wood has to be pre cut. Cardboard will not stand up to much use. What materials, and what cutting tools, are ideal for your classroom?
- How do you minimize scrap? A half sheet of dot paper is 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, foam core is 20x30 inches. These two sizes do not naturally fit together. How do you transfer the pattern to the final material minimizing waste?