Plan and Elevation Drawings of 3D shapes

Being able to construct plan and elevation drawings of 3D shapes is a key skill which often leads on to topics such as nets, isometric drawings, volume and surface area.

An elevation drawing is the view that you would see in real life as you stand looking at either the front or side of the solid.  The plan is what you would see if you were looking directly down.   A set of elevation and plan drawings gives you the chance to see all of the object from the multiple viewpoints.

Prior knowledge of 3D shapes

To construct a set of elevation and plan drawings students need to know the properties of a 3D shape and how a solid can be presented on isometric paper.

The starter recaps both of these by asking students to arrange a set of cuboids.  The point of the activity is for students to discuss alternative methods of arrangement. By doing this is they remind themseleves of the various properties of a solid.  How they arrange the cuboids is left open.  Some choose to arrange by volume, surface area or area of cross-section.

Plan and elevation drawings of 3D shapes

To create a set of plan and elevation drawings of 3D shapes it is important to lay out the front, side and plan views so they align with each other.  The height of the front should align with the height of the side and the width of the plan should align to that of the front as you can see from the diagram.

Plan and Elevation Drawings of 3D shapes

When the students practise drawing the front and side elevations and plan view I ask them to draw sketches on mini-whiteboards rather than attempting accurate constructions.  This helps maintain the pace of the lesson as time is not wasted with handing out rulers, sharpeners, pencils and so on…

When students can accurately sketch the plan and elevations I hand out a collection of objects either bought from home or found in school.


Plan and Elevation Drawings of 3D shapes

Plan and Elevation Drawings of 3D shapes
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Plan and Elevation Drawings of 3D shapes

I ask the students to construct the elevation and plan drawings as accurately as possible in their books.  Each table gets a different object and they pass it on to the next pair when finished.

Creating a solid from the elevation and plan drawings

In the plenary the class are challenged to sketch a multi-coloured 3D object from its plan and elevation drawings.

Plan and Elevation Drawings of 3D shapes

I hand out a set of colours and isometric paper so students can present their work to me and each other at the end.   Students tend to really enjoy this plenary as it reverses what they have just learned.

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