I teach Algebra 2 and one of the topics I find hard to teach is 3 dimensional graphs. Partly because I am not artistic and so I can't really draw them myself. And partly because I haven't found a way to help students "see" the third dimension on a two dimension surface.
My classes have no problems with the Algebra...solving the equations with substitution and elimination is a piece of cake for them. But ask them to plot the point (2, 3, -4) and they can't do it. I've tried putting pencils together to show the octants, I've tried putting pencils through paper for dimension. Not go. Some students can see it right away, but others never see it. I found a
great website: http://technology.cpm.org/general/3dgraph/ that does
3-dimensional graphing (see image). Fortunately, we are a 1-1 school
with airMacs and the students also have access to a program called Grapher. This has
helped a few of them get a much better visualization of the equations.
So this year I am trying something new. I am having my classes create a diorama of a 3-dimensional coordinate system. I've never done this before and I wasn't able to find anything like it on the internet. Which makes me even more excited to see what my students create as they will be the first I see ever!
I was mean though....I gave the project over Christmas break. I figured they would have some down time to put it together. And maybe some extra boxes and paper left over from the holiday. :) I can't wait to see that they do! I'll post pictures in the new year!
Here is the link to TPT if you are interested in trying it out yourself: 3-dimensional diorama project.