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Writing Takes Shape!

Teacher Lesson


Applied Math


3-5, 6-8

Brief Description

Students identify geometric solids and where those solids can be found in the world around them. They create a character sketch for a geometric solid of their choice based on the book The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns.



  • identify geometric solids and use correct mathematical names for the solids.
  • identify those solids in the world around them.
  • apply knowledge of solids as they turn a solid into a fictional character and write a brief character sketch.


geometric, geometry, solid, character, writing

Materials Needed

  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns; many libraries carry this childrens book
  • examples of geometric solids (models, books, Internet sites)
  • paper, pencils, crayons, markers

Lesson Plan

At the start of the lesson, introduce the childrens book The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. Read aloud the story. Discuss how the writer shows where to find polygons around us, and how she uses correct mathematical terms such as quadrilateral, pentagon, and hexagon. Then discuss the moral of the story: always be happy with who you are.

Introduce the following geometric solids: rectangular prism, cube, triangular prism, pyramid, cone, cylinder, and sphere. Show how they are three-dimensional; they have length, width, and height. Also introduce the terms faces, edges, and vertices.

Talk with students about geo-solids in the world around us. Make a list of students ideas.

Arrange students into small groups. Have each group create a web or another graphic organizer that will show at a glance where the students see geometric solids in the world around them.

Finally, challenge each student to write a narrative using "The Greedy Triangle" as a guide. First students will need to select a 3D solid. In their narratives, students should give life to that solid. They should describe where the solid character can be found in the world. They should assign some characteristic to the character (as Marilyn Burns assigned greed to the triangle) and create a story line that includes events that emphasize and develop that characteristic. Perhaps the story might even teach as lesson as The Greedy Triangle did.

Adapting the lesson for students who learn visually: Students who have strong visual skills might transform the narrative into a picture book or comic strip.


Assess the narrative or final project. Give a written or oral quiz on geometric solids.

Submitted By

Julie Graves, Centre Middle School, Centre, Alabama

Originally published 09/26/2002
Last updated 06/15/2008

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