Geometry Puzzles Lesson Plan: Pyramid Panic

Grade Levels: 6-8

In this geometry puzzles lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-8, students use BrainPOP resources to explore basic geometry concepts related to circles, polygons, and triangles. Students then apply geometry understandings to real-life situations and virtual ones through online game play.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Understand basic geometry concepts related to circles, polygons, and triangles
  2. Apply geometry understandings to real-life situations and virtual ones through online game play

Materials:

  • LCD projector/interactive whiteboard
  • Computers for students to use when playing the game in pairs
  • One compass for each student or pair of students
  • Internet and BrainPOP access

Vocabulary:

diameter; perimeter; radius; area; triangles; triangle circles; circle; geometry; polygon; polygons; circumference

Preparation:

Familiarize yourself with game play for Pyramid Panic. In this geometry game set in Ancient Egypt, you have been prematurely mummified and entombed within a pyramid. The object of this game is to help your mummy to escape to freedom by solving geometry puzzles and building a path across the voids of the pyramid's burial chambers.

To play, click and drag a puzzle stone onto the red arrow in order to select it. Position the pointer over targets and then click to fire at them using the Ankh Sceptre. The Ankh Sceptre power bar is the green line at the top left of the screen. Recharge the Ankh power bar by collecting Ankh pick-ups. If you get stuck in a dead end, use the "Back" arrow button (in the middle-bottom of the screen) to make the mummy retrace his steps. You can use this as many times as you like. Pause the game by clicking on the Pause button at the top left of the screen.

You can click "Help" at the beginning of game play, or access the in-game instructions at any time by clicking on the question mark at the top left of the screen. More directions (including information about the game controls, notes function, stages and levels, and scoring) can be found on the Manga High site under "Instructions". Portions of this lesson plan have been adapted from the resources provided by Manga High.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Circles Movie for students. Turn on closed captioning to aid students in comprehension. You may wish to display the Review Quiz afterward and discuss the questions with students.
  2. Tell students they will have the opportunity to practice and apply their understanding of circles and other geometric concepts through an interactive game set in ancient Egypt. Project the Pyramid Panic game for the class to see. Click on "Help" and review the basic instructions with students.
  3. Show students how to get the game started (select Easy Mode unless your students have advanced understandings of geometry) and model game play through a few rounds. Demonstrate how to do the calculations and talk about possible strategies. One approach is to work out the length of the red line in each of the stones until you find the one that matches the moving red arrow. Another is to use the number on the moving red arrow as the length of the red line in each stone, and see if the stone gives you the correct values. Try the stones one at a time until you find the correct one.
  4. Allow students to explore the game in pairs. Try to allot at least 15 minutes so they can experiment with different strategies.
  5. Bring the group back to a whole-class discussion. Talk about some of the strategies students used. Guide them to understand that they can use the mini map in the bottom left corner of the screen to plan their path to the exit. Ask students what happens if they fire multiple shots at Ammit (multiple shots don't have an effect, so they should save their energy and only fire one shot at a time.) Have volunteers share shortcuts and tricks that saved time, and encourage them to take risks and try new strategies during game play.
  6. Review some of the math strategies used in the game. Remind students that they can use doubling and halving for circles: the long line through the middle of a circle is twice as long as the short line from the edge to the middle. You can also visit the Manga High site and click on "Improve Your Score" to see ideas on math strategies for triangles, squares, and other polygons explored in other levels of this game.
  7. Allow students to explore the game a second time, either independently or in pairs. You may want them to start on more advanced levels, or revisit these levels later in the school year after they've explored additional geometric concepts. You can also encourage students to play the game at home. A printable certificate can be earned if they are able to complete the game; you can offer extra credit to students who bring in the certificate.
  8. To build background knowledge, have students explore compasses independently or in pairs. Discuss the different uses of the compass and familiarize students with key vocabulary terms such as radius and circumference. You can project the Experiment as a guide and talking point. Challenge students to creates circles of varying radii and diameters.

Extension Activity:

Use the movies and activities from our other Geometry and Measurement Unit to further students' understanding of the concepts in this game. More math games are available in GameUp and on the MangaHigh.com website.