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ERIC Number: EJ853823
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-0045-0685
Where Does the Formula Come from? Students Investigating Total Surface Areas of a Pyramid and Cone Using Models and Technology
Obara, Samuel
Australian Mathematics Teacher, v65 n1 p25-33 2009
Spatial reasoning is a skill that needs to be developed in students as it is important in geometry for determining total surface areas and volumes of 3-dimensional shapes (Liedtke, 1995). Simply teaching children the formulae, in this case for finding total surface areas, can limit them in understanding mathematics conceptually (Bonotto, 2003). Helping students establish a relationship between the total surface area of a three-dimensional solid and the area of a two-dimensional net should help them in understanding total surface area conceptually. In this article, the author discusses the challenges pre-service secondary school teachers faced in trying to understand how to work out the surface areas of square and rectangular pyramids and a cone. The pitfalls of just giving students a formula to work with without involving them in learning where the formulas come from are presented. (Contains 11 figures and 2 footnotes.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A