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Geometry Construction: Polyhedral Playthings

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    Community Science Workshop Network

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Geometry Construction: Polyhedral Playthings

In this activity, learners create 3D geometric shapes using straws and pipe cleaners. Learners will discover that only certain combinations of two-dimensional shapes make polyhedrons, or regular three-dimensional shapes. This lesson guide includes step-by-step instructions with photos and various methods for constructing a variety of shapes. Learners can make elaborate shapes including: stellated dodecahedron; stellated cube; and stellated tetrahedron.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Lots of straw pieces of identical length - 30 or so for each large polyhedron (Transparent straws show colors nicely)
  • Lots of pipe cleaners - 10 or so for each polyhedron
  • Colored string to hang polyhedrons
  • Side cutters
  • Scissors
  • Needle-nose pliers


  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
      • Solid Geometry
    • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Model Building
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:

  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-CO.D.12: Make formal geometric constructions with a variety of tools and methods (compass and straightedge, string, reflective devices, paper folding, dynamic geometric software, etc.). Copying a segment; copying an angle; bisecting a segment; bisecting an angle; constructing perpendicular lines, including the perpendicular bisector of a line segment; and constructing a line parallel to a given line through a point not on the line.(more info about this benchmark)

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All Rights Reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, ©2011


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