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Tin-Foil Twinkles

Be a geometry detective! Students cut out and design shiny 3-dimensional stars. They’re filled with angles.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Directions

    1. Talk with students about ways to describe shapes using words such as sides, corners, lines, and angles. Analyze familiar 2-dimensional plane figures, such as squares, triangles, and rectangles. Ask students to identify properties that make each shape unique. Compare familiar 3-dimensional space figures such as cubes and pyramids. What properties make these shapes unique?
    2. Here’s a new way to create paper stars that are unique. Fold an 8-inch (10 cm) square piece of construction paper in half to form a rectangle. Hold the rectangle so the fold is at the bottom. Bring up the bottom right point to meet the left side about 1/3 of the way down from the top left corner. Press down on fold.
    3. Fold the lower left triangle piece up over the top. Press down on fold.
    4. Fold the right half of the shape (from the folded triangle to the right tip) over to the left. The folded paper resembles an ice cream cone with 2 scoops of pointy ice cream, one large and one small!
    5. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut the folded paper from about 1/3 of the way from the bottom of the right fold to the corner of the angle on the left side. Discard the "ice cream scoops."
    6. Open the folded paper "cone" to reveal the star shape. Crease all the fold lines that end in a point so they are folded up. Crease all the in-between fold lines so they fold down. Make several stars. Experiment with other paper sizes.
    7. Cut pieces of colored art foil to fit on some of the star surfaces. Attach foil with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    8. Use Crayola Gel Markers and your imagination to draw designs on the foil and paper surfaces of stars.
    9. Compare newly-created stars with classmates’ stars. Each star may have a unique shape. Analyze the surfaces. Are all surfaces around the same star the same plane figure? Describe and measure sides (lines) and corners (angles). Are some angles larger and others smaller? Are some lines longer than others?
    10. After students have explored their stars, use them to decorate a bulletin board for science and math or for holiday gifts.
  • Standards

    LA: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Convert like measurement units within a given measurement system.

    MATH: Classify two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by Michael Driscoll; National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes

    Encourage students to construct 50 stars, one for each of the states in represented in the U.S. flag. Include on each star symbols that represent the focus state. Display the start on a bulletin board in the order that the states entered the Union.

    Students research and create a representation of a constellation. Include during the research phase a look at the distance the stars are from the earth, the time of year the constellation is most visible, and other interesting facts that note the uniqueness of this group of stars.

    Students collect data regarding significant stars in the universe, including distance from the Earth, the type of star, etc. Organize data in a graphic format for review and discussion in a small group setting.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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