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Standard Treehouse Lesson Plan

Grades 7+
by Carol Townsend

Objectives: By the end of this lesson, student will be able to discuss similar and congruent in terms of three dimensional shapes and their arrangement within a two dimensional field.

Materials : One Treehouse set for every 4 students. Preparatory Set : Divide the class up into groups of 4 - it is better to have extra groups of 3 than a group of 5 for this game. Distribute the Treehouse sets and, if this is their first time experiencing the pyramids, give them 5 minutes or so to discover the pieces.

Have the students each choose a color and retrieve the three pyramids of their color from the set. Start a discussion on the pyramids.

  • What is alike? What is different?
  • How are the different sizes alike - how is a small like a large?
  • Point out that the smalls have 1 'pip' on a side, mediums have 2 pips and larges have 3 pips. Ask the students how they would go about making a 4 pip. Or a 7 pip? Or a 100 pip pyramid?

  • Introduce the terms "congruent" and "similar." Have the students discuss congruency and similarity in terms of the shapes of the pyramids. If appropriate, discuss other similar and congruent shapes in your classroom. The Treehouse die is a cube, the tube is a prism... what other shapes are similar or congruent to these objects?
  • Introduce the various moves in the game: Tip, Hop, Aim, Dig, and Swap. Show how each move works and how the pyramids move around. Explain that if a move CAN be done on their own set of pyramids (their Tree) then it must. If a move cannot be done on their own pyramids (for example, a Dig cannot be done on the opening set up as a Tree), then it MAY be (but does not have to be) done on the center group (the House.) With a Wild, students may change their Tree or the House, and may choose any of the other 5 moves.
  • Let the students play a game or two, as time permits.

    Set up some examples on the overhead or board, drawing the pyramids in various configurations. Have examples of symmetrical possibilities (small on left, medium-on-large on right in one, small on right, medium-on-large on left in a second, large on left, small-on-medium in a third...)

    Discuss how these are all examples of similar set-ups, but it is only congruent situations that match.

    Have students play another game and document all moves using simple symbols such as "<" ">" or "/\" in the appropriate sizes. Have them circle, label, or otherwise indicate when any two players' pyramids are either similar or congruent in orientation.

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