n Learning and Teaching Mathematics - Solids, positions and rotation axes

Volume 2014, Issue 16
  • ISSN : 1990-6811


Three-dimensional objects such as cylinders, cones and spheres are in fact solids of revolution which are formed by rotating a plane shape about an axis that lies in the same plane. These solids are usually engaged with in the classroom with reference to the attributes that characterise them and in terms of volume and surface area calculations, but this is generally done without reference to such objects being solids of revolution.

This paper presents an approach for engaging with these solids from a different perspective, that of manipulating (rotating) a 2-dimensional shape in order to obtain a 3-dimensional solid, carried out through the use of mental imagery. The activities in this paper focus on solids of revolution through the use of mental imagery and are suitable for learners in the upper grades of elementary school as well as for pre- and in-service mathematics teachers.

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