Saturday, January 08, 2011

Inside Four Walls: Geometry Re-Scale Project

What is this? An actual Geometry lesson being posted here? Yes it is.

This is a project that I saw during my time as a student teacher at Claremont High School. I saw a big box of soda and asked what it was and the teacher told me her Geometry students re-scaled an object to help with understanding similar figures.

So when I was on my own and we did the chapter on similar figures/polygons, I remembered her project. The great thing is that we finished the chapter right before Christmas break, so I thought they could take those two weeks to do it. It worked out great and I have been doing it for 7 years now.

The directions are pretty simple. Take an object and determine a scale factor for the project. Then re-size it, smaller or larger. Most go with larger because it looks better. The other thing is that there can be no computer graphics used or you can't get full credit. I want to see some hand drawn artwork. There is also a question sheet for the project, which is very easy to do. There is one question that asks about the perimeter to make the connection that the perimeter will be proportional to the scale factor.

I should take more pictures of my projects because as I was looking through these I realized I don't have a lot photographed and that's a shame because they are really well done.

My first year's best project. I still have it and it is still holding up well. The other side had a straw, it was lost in one of my moves. The top even had that little foil covering the hole, but some student poked it out.

Giant air-freshener I received this year. What makes it great is that the student sprayed it with a pine scent to make it smell like a real car air-freshener. Plus side, my room smells better.
Probably my two favorite projects. The one on the left was done 5 years ago. I can't remember what the scale factor is on it, but at the time it was the most detailed project I had ever received. The back is awesome. So fast forward to this year and I have her little brother in my class. I tell him it would be cool to have another Mike & Ike box the same size. So he does the tropical flavor. He used the exact same method his sister used, which involved getting the original box opened up and transferred to graphite paper. I always thought they used a transparency and overhead, but apparently not. So what makes this ever cooler? The bar code on the back actually scans. We used those bar code apps on smart phones and it found the product. Pretty cool.

By the way, on the edge of the original Mike & Ike is a big Hersey's chocolate bar. It is painted like the others and usually fools most people. They think it is a huge chocolate bar. And yes, that is Yoda in between. He is like a magic 8-ball, ask him a question, squeeze his hand and he gives you an answer.
Last but not least is the one project that gets the most attention. I had a student rescale a pencil 10x's bigger. Everyone thinks I bought it. I keep it hanging above my desk now. There is writing on the other side that matches up with the original pencil as well. The metal tip for the eraser is an old can of soup. The eraser is starting to peel off now and I need to re-glue it. The tip was broke by the custodians one summer. I was moving rooms and left it in another teachers room. When we came back 3 weeks later it was moved into the corner from cleaning the carpets. The tip was broken. I glued it back on, but you can see the crack still. Pisses me off.

I have a bunch more that I really like, a Cup of Noodles box, a Jello Box that was made from all construction paper...amazing job actually. I probably have kept 10-15 projects over 7 years. I keep more than that each year, but most rotate through from year to year. This year I had a student enlarge a Rubik's Cube that one direction. I am sure it is a matter of time before I get one that moves both ways.

If you are wondering how I am able to keep them, I bargain with the students to "buy" them off of them for extra credit points. It gives them an opportunity to practice their bargaining skills. I like to watch them take pride in their work and give their reasons why their project is worth so many points. I have had some students say no thanks to the extra credit and they keep it because of all the hard work they put into it. And I respect those students for holding their ground no matter what I try to offer.

I will try to get some more pictures of my projects later.


Reindeeralyn said...

I enjoyed doing this project even though my mini CD turned out funky.

Mr. W said...

glad to hear that. I don't remember yours being funky, but you guys are usually harder on yourselves than we teachers are. Most students have learned to enlarge them. I will say that there have been a few really excellent mini items.

I still regret not taking more photos of them when I got them turned in.

Wendy said...

This was great! I happened to be searching for project ideas for my Geometry class's final assessment on Ratios and Proportions and came across this post. I think this will fit the bill just great! Thanks, love the pictures.

Mr. W said...

glad you liked it. It's a fun project to do with students. I am sure you will be surprised by the quality you get back.

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AMoore said...


Do you still have the question sheet for this project? I am very interested in doing this with my students this year. Please let me know.


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Hi there! This project looks really fantastic. As a new teacher, I am struggling to come up with projects that I think the students will like AND are worth while.
Any chance you'd be willing to share the question sheet and student direction sheet? I will give credit to you. Thank you for considering this :)

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Holly E. said...

This looks amazing and I'm really looking forward to doing this with my classes this year. Would you be willing to share your question sheet also? If so, please email it to

Thank you so much for sharing!

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This project looks amazing and I would love to do it with my students. Would you be willing to share your question sheet and student handout? Thank you so much.

Thank you!

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I want to do this as a bonus assignment for my HS Geometry. Could you provide your assignment sheet/grading rubric?