Liskeard School and Community Engineering College Primary Maths and Design Shape and Space

Liskeard School and Community Engineering College Primary Maths and Design Shape and Space

Liskeard School and Community Engineering College – Primary Maths and Design shape and space project.


We are a large market town in Cornwall with a broad range of ability intake. We have nine main feeder primaries who we are working with in this project. The main idea is for each term for a member of the maths team and a member of the D and T team to work in collaboration with the primaries. We target approximately 15 middle to higher ability year 6 pupils who will spend 5 one hour sessions working at the College. They spend 3 hours in maths and 2 hours in design and technology. 3 year 11 peer mentors are used to help each group and to encourage an understanding of the discovery work taking place.


During the 5 weeks they will work towards using design equipment to produce accurate nets for large dodecahedra to take back to the primary school as resources for their classroom. The idea being that they decorate the dodecahedra in different ways to suit various areas in the primary curriculum. This also takes the project into a final “in primary phase” to complete the construction and decoration of the 3D solid.

Phase 1 maths.

Week 1 – The pupils arrive to an animated dodecahedron opening to its net and forming back into its 3D shape to the music of the British Airways Ad. In this session they will be learning about 2D space using ATM (association of teachers of mathematics) Tiles. (MATS). Here they learn about the various properties of 7 different polygons. They discover how to fit them together to tile 2D space in a regular tessellation. They design their own tessellation using the tiles provided. This provides plenty of opportunity for probing questioning as to the construction of these basic 2D shapes. Lots of wonderful patterns are produced. This session culminates in a decision to pick one of the patterns and fill the classroom floor with it.

Week 2 – The pupils arrive to the same music and animation (it forms a title sequence for this phase). In this session we move into 3D construction using polyhedron. This is a commercially produced set of polygons that slot together to enable 3D polyhedra to be constructed. A set of challenges are given to the pupils. A wonderful opportunity exists here to investigate the naming of these shapes. An understanding of the forming of the names such as do deca hedron ( 2 and 10 faces) gives opportunities to make up alternative names to the shapes. For example a cube can be made from 6 tetragons. This session is wonderful as the primary pupils discover such wonderfully named solids as the triangular cupola and the truncated octahedron. The plenary session here involves taking the dodecahedron that one of the groups has constructed just from being told to work out how many pentagons will be needed to build a dodecahedron (the clue is in the name) and then break it apart to form a net.

Week 3 – We have our title sequence as in the previous 2 weeks to lead us into an accurate drawing of a net of a dodecahedron on A1 sized card. This is a real challenge as there are allsorts of extra skills needed here on top of the spatial awareness of the previous two weeks. The working out of the angle, the use of the protractor, the accurate use of drawing instruments. By the end of this the pupils have a large net to take away that they have constructed that they can keep at home.

Phase 2 – Design and Technology.

LiskeardSchool has some of the finest CADCAM software and machines available. The aim here is to give the students a taste of what this can do. They now have a good understanding of the mathematical background to 3D solids, now is the time to learn how software can do some of these tasks for us.

Week 1 – The pupils are shown around the extensive workshops and are given an introduction to 2D designer software. They then spend the rest of the session on the computers using the software to design the same net that they constructed themselves in maths the previous week.

Week 2 – They use the CAM 1 machine to cut the net out of thick card. Here they learn the capabilities of these machines as well as the all important workshop safety procedures. They finish this session with enough nets for their whole class back in the primary to assemble and decorate.

Phase 3 – Primary School

Completion of the project by assembling the nets and decorating them to suit the purpose which they will be used for. We have also run quizzes at the primaries using the project as a basis.

Ian Crews

Head of Mathematics

Liskeard School and Community College




PL14 3EA