Circle Basics Unit (Part 1)

We split up our circles unit into 2 parts (Part 1: Circle Basics, Circumference & Area, Area of Shaded Regions, & Tangent Lines; Part 2: Arcs, Central Angles, Chords, Sector Area, Arc Length, and Segment Area). I know a majority of schools teach circles as one big unit but I don't think that most of my special education students could remember all of those theorems and rules and be successful. For those that teach circles as one big unit and your students are successful, can you show me a sample of your unit outline? :)

Day 1: We used the foldable below to learn about the basic parts of a circle. I LOVE this foldable and have used the same one for the past 3 years. Students choose one color to represent each vocabulary word and color-code accordingly. I found that this helps students out A LOT! I really emphasized the difference between a secant and a chord. Also, when listing chords, some students forget to write down the diameter down so I reminded students that the diameter is the longest chord in a circle. Identifying all the radii in the circle helped students realize that even though a line is not drawn, it is still a radius! After the notes on our foldable, I told students to close their foldable and attempt the blue sheet (vocabulary review) by themselves. I told them to read through the definition and draw a picture. About 85% matched the vocabulary word with the definition correctly with the most common mistakes of switching tangent and secant.

I had too much time left in class so I decided to start circumference and area notes. I labeled the purple sheet with the students before introducing the flip-book. On the purple sheet I had students write down d=2•r and r = 1/2•d (even though it is not shown in the pictures). We only went through the vocabulary, circumference, and area sections of their flip-book. These examples were easy and a quick review of what they already know about circumference and area. Overall, the vocabulary, circumference, and area section took about 15 minutes to complete (and most students finished the examples before I was even done!)


After the notes, I handed them the following homework to complete over circle basics. I did have to to remind students again that the diameter is a chord in problem #4. 

Day 2: Students walked in and opened up to their circumference and area foldable. Before we got started, I cold called on several students and asked them questions over circumference and area. Some sample questions that I asked students were, "If the diameter of a circle is 10m, then what is the length of the radius?" "If the circumference of a circle is 56⫪, then what is the radius of the circle?" "If the area of a circle is 49⫪m², then what is the circumference of the circle?" After I had several students answer my questions, we started on the more circumference and more area sections in our flipbook. Many students got stuck/had questions on the square inscribed in the circle problem (on finding the diameter).

After the notes, I handed students the following circumference and area homework. Students had the most questions on the diameter on question #8 since we have not practiced 45-45-90 triangles in a minute :)

Day 3: Students walked in and cut out their area of shaded regions foldable and taped it down next to their review of area formula chart. I am so glad that I made this review of area formula chart to place next to their area of shaded regions foldable because many students referenced this when we got to the homework. In many of my classes, I have to tell students how to find the area in very clear and concise ways or I will lose/confuse many of them. For example, I told students that to find the area of the shaded region in example 4 we will use the following formula: "area of the big circle - area of medium circle - area of the small circle."

After the notes, I had students complete the following area of shaded regions homework. Again, most students had questions on how to find the diameter of the circle in question 4 (just like circumference & area) so in my lower level classes, we went over question #4 together. 

Day 4: Today we did the following tangent lines foldable together as a class. We completed the foldable first and then summarized our findings on the blue graphic organizer. Students really understood the concept of tangent lines after this lesson. Question #3 was definitely my favorite question on this foldable :)

After the foldable, we completed the following worksheet over tangent lines and students did GREAT on this formative assessment. Most of my special education students could complete #5 correctly, even though there was not a question like this on our notes (big deal in my class).  

Here are some of the files that I used: 

Surface Area and Volume of Pyramids Unit

Day 1:  I had students tape down the green sheet with the formulas on the left side of their notebook and their Pyramids foldable on the right side. We labeled the important parts of the square pyramid on the formula sheet first. After labeling only the square pyramids on the formula sheet, we completed two example problems over finding the surface area and volume of square pyramids. During the notes, I did example 1 and we went through it very slowly while I walked around to make sure each student understood what I was doing at all times. Students were responsible for trying to complete the second example on their own and about 85% could do it! I did go over it after a certain amount of time to clear up any misconceptions. Less is more for this unit!!! :)

After the notes in our new foldable, I passed out the homework assignment below. Students did really well on this and I included the QR codes for students to check their answers before they plugged them into the formulas. They did have to show work to receive credit!!

Day 2: I was absent this day and my student teacher was nice enough to teach all of my classes without me having to make a video lesson! Thanks Nate ;) Anyways, my student teacher had students label the important parts of triangular pyramids on our green formula sheet and then went over the two examples of finding the surface area and volume of triangular pyramids. The next day he told me that he did have to go over both problems because a majority of our students could not find all the variables on their own.

After the notes, students completed the following homework assignment over finding the surface area and volume of triangular pyramids.

Day 3: On the third day of our pyramids unit, students learned how to find the surface area and volume of hexagonal pyramids. For some reason, students prefer hexagons over triangles (even in our prisms unit). Again, we labeled our formula sheet and did two example problems in our foldable. However, students told me that they wanted me to let them try the second example because "Mrs. Newell, this is TOO EASY!" After the foldable, students worked on the following homework assignment.

Day 4: We practiced some more dimensional change practice through the graphic organizer below because I felt that we did not have adequate notes in our notebook. I did the pink sheet with them for a reminder of the rules of dimensional change and then I had students complete the white half-sheet where students had to solve example 1 and then plug the answer into the empty box in example 2. They repeat this process until they get the answer to example 4. I had students write down the answer to example 4 on a whiteboard and had them show it to me. In some classes, 100% of the students received the correct answer and in the classes that did not, we did go over it as a class. Below are pictures of the graphic organizer and example worksheet. (I did mess up on the white half-sheet but I did fix it in the files :))

After we completed the notes over dimensional change, students did an awesome activity that is currently on my Classroom Activities page "Least to Greatest Surface Area and Volume of Pyramids Activity". This activity was very difficult for some students and took them awhile but I feel that this helped students out SO much and I could definitely see an improvement in their understanding after this activity.

Once students completed the activity, I handed the following assignment that was a review over everything that we have learned about pyramids. For some reason, 98% of my students turn in their half sheet homework but I will only receive back about 30% of homework that is a full sheet.

Day 5: Students walked in and completed an "Are you Ready for Pyramids Quiz" worksheet. In some classes, they like to answer the questions on the whiteboard and show them to me and in others, they like to write on their desks with expo markers. After we did the "Are you Ready" worksheet, students completed the pyramids quiz independently. I did make a "modified version" of the quiz (which would be Form C). Students performed extremely well on this quiz and it was a great start to my weekend!

Day 6: Today was my review day and students completed the following activity where they had to start at card A and make their way until they reached card P. Students had to show their work on the provided answer document and then search for the answer in the top left corner of a previous card. Students were 99.9% engaged during this activity and I will definitely be creating some more of these cards (even though it was a PAIN to cut out them out).

MAJOR LIFE SAVING HINT: Print these out on cardstock and laminate for durability. Also, in the picture it says "113" but I did correct it to "13."

Day 7: Today was TEST DAY and students did absolutely amazing. Only one student in each class period did not pass the test! Again, maybe it was too easy and I need to combine the units or maybe, the short formative assessments help students in the long run?!?!

  • I found that students referenced our "green formula sheet" multiple times throughout the class period. I love having these formula sheets to the side of our foldables!
  • Still.... are these half sheets making their grades improve or is it something else?
  • I still want to combine all of the 3D shapes into one big surface area and volume unit for next year

Here are some of the files that I used during this unit: 

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Again, sorry for any grammar or punctuation errors, I am catching up on the walking dead! Any feedback is welcome :)


Surface Area & Volume of Prisms Unit

We just wrapped up our unit on finding the surface area and volume of prisms. At our school we break up surface area and volume into 3 units (prisms, pyramids, and then cones/cylinders spheres). I have NO idea why we do this but, I definitely want to change it up next year and make it as one big unit.

Day 1: Students taped down the Prisms formula chart to the left of their flip-book. It is extremely important to mirror how to set up the flip-book with your students because if not, there will be a lot of "My book doesn't look like that!" and a lot of students yelling "Help!" There may even be some students that go through the whole unit without taking notes because their book is messed up and they are not the type to ask for help. We went through the vocabulary sections, formulas section, and rectangular prisms section in our book on day 1.

After the notes, I handed out students the following surface area and volume of rectangular prisms homework. I put a QR code reader on many of the homework assignments this unit because I wanted students to check to see if they had the correct variables before plugging them into the equations. However, 95% of my students did not use the QR code because they claimed they did not need it. I wish they did, but I do LOVE their confidence!

Day 2: We started the day off by finding the surface area and volume of cubes. Students thought this was one of the easiest topics we have covered this year and this lesson did not take long at all.

After the notes, I had students break up into groups of 2 and create their own nets of rectangular prisms and cubes. Students were expected to find the surface area and volume of their net. I did not tell them how the net of each prism would look like and they magically figured it out by themselves :)

After the nets activity, students worked on the following surface area and volume of cubes homework. 

Day 3: As soon as students walked in, we went over how to find the surface area and volume of triangular prisms. Students seemed to struggle the most on this topic throughout the whole unit. Most mistakes were finding the incorrect area of the base (B).

After the notes, we completed the "Least to Greatest Prisms" activity currently on my "Classrooms Activity" page on my blog. 

I ended the day by passing out the following homework assignment over finding the surface area and volume of triangular prisms. This homework assignment had the lowest grades overall. 

Day 4:  We started off the Monday going over the most common missed questions on the quiz they took on Friday. The most missed questions were #4, 5, 8, and 11. I allow students to complete quiz corrections for half credit back (may take advantage of this and learn from their mistakes) and I am in the process of coming up with the perfect quiz correction form :). We also learned how to find the surface area and volume of hexagonal prisms. 

After the notes, students worked on this hexagonal prisms homework assignment for the little time they had left remaining.

Day 5: Pep Rally/Quiz day!! I didn't want to make extra copies this week so instead of making each student a copy of the "Are you Ready for Prisms Quiz", I had students follow along on their desks with an expo marker. I put a little shaving cream on the corner of their desk for students to use to clean it off. FYI: Shaving cream is a fun and inexpensive way to clean off students desk (also quite the air freshener). I had several students go to the board to solve it if I saw them solve it correctly on their desk. I made 3 separate forms (Form C is for my special ed/modified kiddos). You can finfd my quiz when you click here (Surface Area and Volume of Prisms Quiz).

Day 6: Computer lab day, HOORAY!! We headed down to the computer lab that is several feet from my classroom since we are not yet 1:1. I turned my surface area and volume task cards into a socrative quiz. My students love these socrative quizzes. For those who do not know where to go, click on and go to teacher login. If you would like to use it in your classroom, SOC-21518720.

Day 7: I had students create their own original prisms and then told students to change its dimensions. We discussed the effects of changing dimensions on area and volume. I printed some old task cards out 6 to a page and had students glue them down in their note-book for notes. Students told me that they would like a test just over this topic alone ;) After the task card notes, we completed a mini review of the whole unit that they will be tested over on day 9. 

Day 8: We were on a weird/modified schedule due to STAAR testing so I made a review worksheet for the classes that I did have for a short period of time. We did a "Plug & Chug" activity over finding the surface area and volume of prisms. Students have to start at A and find the answer to be able to solve the next problem. I love these because students seem to ask questions more since they do not want to get to the last problem just to have to go back and re-do all of their hard work. :)

Teaching Reflections.....
Students ROCKED this unit! I felt like the best teacher ever after looking over their test scores... I do not know if it was because it was too easy and I should have included cylinders in this unit.... Maybe, because the homework was so small that 90% of students turned in all of their assignments... Still just not sure! 

Here are some of the files that I used for this unit: 

The other files can be found when you click here: 

P.S. Sorry if there are a lot of typos and/or grammar issues. My 3 year old son played Pillowtalk by Zayn on repeat while I was writing this post :))