Lesson 6
Building Polygons (Part 1)
6.1: True or False: Signed Numbers (5 minutes)
Warmup
The purpose of this warmup is to encourage students to reason about properties of operations without evaluating each expression. Encourage students to think about the meaning of the operations in each question.
Launch
Display each problem one at a time. Tell students to give a signal when they have a response. Give 30 seconds of quiet think time. Ask students to share their reasoning for each. Record and display their thinking for all to see. Leave each problem displayed as you move onto the next problem.
Supports accessibility for: Memory; Organization
Student Facing
Decide whether each equation is true or false. Be prepared to explain your reasoning.
\(4\boldcdot (\text 6) = (\text 6) + (\text 6) + (\text 6) + (\text 6)\)
\(\text 8 \boldcdot 4 = (\text 8\boldcdot 3) + 4\)
\(6 \boldcdot (\text 7) = 7\boldcdot (\text 7) + 7\)
\(\text 10  6 = \text 10  (\text 6)\)
Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Anticipated Misconceptions
Some students may try evaluating each side of each equation. Encourage them to look for patterns or shortcuts that would help them answer each question without doing all the calculations.
Activity Synthesis
Ask students to share their reasoning. Record and display the responses for all to see. To involve more students in the conversation, use some of the following questions:
 “Do you agree or disagree? Why?”
 “Who can restate ___’s reasoning in a different way?”
 “Did anyone reason about the problem the same way, but would explain it differently?”
 “Did anyone reason about the problem in a different way?”
 “Does anyone want to add on to _____’s reasoning?” If there is time, ask students how they could rewrite the false equations to be true.
See MLR 7 (Connect and Compare) for more examples.
6.2: What Can You Build? (15 minutes)
Activity
The purpose of this activity is for students to explore a physical representation of polygons and make observations about triangles and quadrilaterals. This introductory activity serves to familiarize students with the tools and definitions they will use in future activities. Students may notice that some sets of 3 strips cannot make a triangle, but formalizing rules about what lengths can and cannot be used to form a triangle is not the goal of this lesson.
This is the place to notice that pairs of triangles with 3 matching lengths make identical triangles, whereas pairs of quadrilaterals with 4 matching lengths do not necessarily make identical quadrilaterals. Students will express this observation more formally in the next activity.
As students work, select at least one group’s triangle and another group’s quadrilateral to recreate for the wholeclass discussion.
Launch
Arrange students in groups of 2. Remind students that a polygon is a closed shape with straight sides. If necessary, demonstrate how to use the fasteners to connect the strips.
Distribute one set of strips and fasteners to each group. Provide access to geometry toolkit, including rulers and protractors. Give students 5–6 minutes of quiet work time followed by a wholeclass discussion.
For classes using the digital materials, there is an applet for students to use to build polygons with the given side lengths. If necessary, demonstrate how to create a vertex by overlapping the endpoints of two segments. It may work best for positioning each segment to put the green endpoint in place first and then adjust the yellow endpoint as desired.
Supports accessibility for: Conceptual processing; Memory
Student Facing
 Use the segments in the applet to build several polygons, including at least one triangle and one quadrilateral.
 After you finish building several polygons, select one triangle and one quadrilateral that you have made.
 Measure all the angles in the two shapes you selected. Note: select points in order counterclockwise, like a protractor.
 Using these measurements along with the side lengths as marked, draw your triangle and quadrilateral as accurately as possible on separate paper.
Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Launch
Arrange students in groups of 2. Remind students that a polygon is a closed shape with straight sides. If necessary, demonstrate how to use the fasteners to connect the strips.
Distribute one set of strips and fasteners to each group. Provide access to geometry toolkit, including rulers and protractors. Give students 5–6 minutes of quiet work time followed by a wholeclass discussion.
For classes using the digital materials, there is an applet for students to use to build polygons with the given side lengths. If necessary, demonstrate how to create a vertex by overlapping the endpoints of two segments. It may work best for positioning each segment to put the green endpoint in place first and then adjust the yellow endpoint as desired.
Representation: Internalize Comprehension. Begin the activity with concrete or familiar contexts. Remind students that a polygon is a closed figure with straight sides. Demonstrate how to use fasteners to connect the slips.
Supports accessibility for: Conceptual processing; Memory
Student Facing
Your teacher will give you some strips of different lengths and fasteners you can use to attach the corners.
 Use the pieces to build several polygons, including at least one triangle and one quadrilateral.

After you finish building several polygons, select one triangle and one quadrilateral that you have made.
 Measure all the angles in the two shapes you selected.

Using these measurements along with the side lengths as marked, draw your triangle and quadrilateral as accurately as possible.
Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Anticipated Misconceptions
Some students may try to bend the strips to make shapes with curved sides. Remind them that a polygon has all straight sides.
Activity Synthesis
The purpose of this discussion is to establish what is meant when we say two shapes are identical copies. While students don’t use the word congruent until grade 8, they should recognize that two shapes are identical only when they can match perfectly on top of each other by movements that don’t change lengths or angles.
Invite a group to share the side lengths they chose for their triangle. Create a copy of the triangle with another set of strips and fasteners. Display it for all to see alongside the group’s original triangle, but oriented differently. Ask students, “Are the two shapes identical? How can you tell?” (Yes, because you can put them on top of each other and they match up exactly.) Demonstrate turning or flipping the triangle, as needed, to place one copy on top of the other and show that they match.
Repeat the demonstration with a group’s quadrilateral. Create a copy that has the same side lengths as what they used, but different angles. Demonstrate the “floppiness” of the quadrilateral (that is, the angles can change even though the side lengths remain the same). Make sure students realize that the two quadrilaterals are not necessarily identical copies, even though they have the same side lengths.
Design Principle(s): Support sensemaking; Maximize metaawareness
6.3: Building Diego’s and Jada’s Shapes (10 minutes)
Activity
The purpose of this activity is to reinforce that some conditions define a unique polygon while others do not. Students build polygons given only a description of their side lengths. They articulate that this is not enough information to guarantee that a pair of quadrilaterals are identical copies. On the other hand, triangles have a special property that three specific side lengths result in a unique triangle. Students should notice that their recreation of Jada’s triangle is rigid; the side lengths and angles are all fixed.
Monitor for students who try putting the side lengths together in different orders to build different polygons and invite them to share during the wholeclass discussion.
Launch
Keep students in the same groups. Tell them they will continue to use the strips and fasteners from the previous activity. Encourage students to think about whether there are different shapes that would fulfill the given conditions. Give students 5–6 minutes of group work time followed by a wholeclass discussion.
If using the digital version, students can keep using the same applet that they explored in the previous activity to build shapes with the given conditions.
Student Facing
 Diego built a quadrilateral using side lengths of 4 in, 5 in, 6 in, and 9 in.
 Build such a shape.
 Is your shape an identical copy of Diego’s shape? Explain your reasoning.
 Jada built a triangle using side lengths of 4 in, 5 in, and 8 in.
 Build such a shape.
 Is your shape an identical copy of Jada’s shape? Explain your reasoning.
Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Launch
Keep students in the same groups. Tell them they will continue to use the strips and fasteners from the previous activity. Encourage students to think about whether there are different shapes that would fulfill the given conditions. Give students 5–6 minutes of group work time followed by a wholeclass discussion.
If using the digital version, students can keep using the same applet that they explored in the previous activity to build shapes with the given conditions.
Student Facing

Diego built a quadrilateral using side lengths of 4 in, 5 in, 6 in, and 9 in.

Build such a shape.

Is your shape an identical copy of Diego’s shape? Explain your reasoning.


Jada built a triangle using side lengths of 4 in, 5 in, and 8 in.

Build such a shape.

Is your shape an identical copy of Jada’s shape? Explain your reasoning.

Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Anticipated Misconceptions
Students may think that their triangle is different from Jada’s because hers is “upside down.” Ask the student to turn their triangle around and ask them if it is now a different triangle. While there is a good debate to be had if they continue to insist they are different, let the students know that, for this unit, we will consider shapes that have been turned or flipped or moved as identical copies and thus “not different.”
Activity Synthesis
Select previously identified students to share their constructions and explanations. Display each student’s example for all to see.
If desired, reveal Diego and Jada’s shapes and display for all to see along side students’ work.
Ask students:
 “Is this what you thought Jada and Diego’s shapes looked like?”
 “Which shape did you make an identical copy of?” (Jada’s triangle.)
 “Why did you not make an identical copy of Diego’s shape?” (Because you can make quadrilaterals with the same side lengths but different angle measure.)
Consider explaining to students how this finding is applied in construction projects. For stability, the internal structures of many buildings (and bridges) will include triangles. Rectangles or other polygons with more than three sides often include triangular supports on the inside, to make the construction more rigid and less floppy.
Design Principle(s): Maximize metaawareness
6.4: Building Han’s Shape (5 minutes)
Optional activity
The purpose of this activity is for students to see that sometimes it is impossible to build a polygon with certain conditions, but also that they need to think carefully about the information they are given before making assumptions.
In this case, students are given 3 side lengths that cannot form a triangle and are told to build a polygon. Students may assume that because they were given 3 side lengths, their shape is supposed to be a triangle; however, they will only succeed in building a polygon using the specified side lengths if it has more than 3 sides. Formalizing rules about what lengths can and cannot be used to form a triangle is not the goal of this activity.
As students work on the task, monitor for students who realize that the shape cannot be a triangle and for students who realize it can be a polygon with more than 3 sides.
Launch
Keep students in the same groups. Students keep using the strips and fasteners from the previous activity. Encourage students to read the question carefully. Give students 3–4 minutes of group work time, followed by a wholeclass discussion.
If using the digital lesson, the applet is the same as the previous activities.
Student Facing
Han built a polygon using side lengths of 3 in, 4 in, and 9 in.
 Build such a shape.
 What do you notice?
Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Launch
Keep students in the same groups. Students keep using the strips and fasteners from the previous activity. Encourage students to read the question carefully. Give students 3–4 minutes of group work time, followed by a wholeclass discussion.
If using the digital lesson, the applet is the same as the previous activities.
Student Facing
Han built a polygon using side lengths of 3 in, 4 in, and 9 in.

Build such a shape.

What do you notice?
Student Response
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Anticipated Misconceptions
Students may say that there is no way Han could have built this shape, because they are assuming it must be a triangle. Ask students if the question specifies that the shape is a triangle. If needed, remind students of the definition of polygon and prompt them to consider what they could do to finish building a closed shape with all straight sides.
Activity Synthesis
Select previously identified students to share their explanations. Make sure students realize that this shape cannot be built as a triangle; however, it is possible to build a polygon with more than 3 sides. Tell students, “As the unit progresses, you will be asked to create or draw shapes that include some conditions, but there may be some flexibility with the pieces that are not mentioned. Be aware of what must be included and what is not mentioned.”
If time permits, consider asking some of the following questions:
 “What length did you choose to use for your fourth side? Would another choice have worked?”
 “If another group used the same length for their fourth side as you, does their polygon have to be an identical copy of yours? How do you know?”
 “Did any group choose to have more than 4 sides on their polygon? Does such a shape fulfill the given conditions?”
Lesson Synthesis
Lesson Synthesis
 What kinds of shapes could you build with side lengths 4 inches, 4 inches, and 4 inches? (triangle, square, another quadrilateral, pentagon, etc.)
 What kinds of shapes could you not build with this set of side lengths and fasteners? (circle, oval, a 9 inch square, etc.)
 How is building a triangle with three given side lengths different from building a quadrilateral with four given side lengths? (the triangle must be a specific one, but the quadrilateral might be a lot of different things by changing the angles)
6.5: Cooldown  An Equilateral Quadrilateral (5 minutes)
CoolDown
For access, consult one of our IM Certified Partners.
Student Lesson Summary
Student Facing
Sometimes we are given a polygon and asked to find the lengths of the sides. What options do you have if you need to build a polygon with some side lengths? Sometimes, we can make lots of different figures. For example, if you have side lengths 5, 7, 11, and 14, here are some of the many, many quadrilaterals we can make with those side lengths:
Sometimes, it is not possible to make a figure with certain side lengths. For example, 18, 1, 1, 1 (try it!).
We will continue to investigate the figures that can be made with given measures.