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Geodome Playhouse

This lesson plan was written by Ed Clement, teacher at Hanson Park Elementary School and a former Teachers Network web mentor.

Welcome to the Geodome  
  • For kids in 5th through 8th grade.
    Build math skills.
  • Show kids that math can be useful.

Take the lesson of building a simple paper geodome model one step further. After the model is completed make a cardboard model large enough to be used as a playhouse or reading center for Pre-K through 1st grade students.


  1. Use math and compass skills to make two small paper geodome circles. (One for the hexagon and one for the square.)
  2. Use the mathematical properties of circles and protractor skills to divide the two small geodome circles into the proper number of sections.
  3. Connect the section ends of both circles.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 or use spreadsheet and CAD skills to make 7 more hexagons and 6 more squares.
  5. Cut out circles with scissors.
  6. Fold back the sections ends.
  7. Staple or bolt ends together using a completed paper geodome as a diagram.
  8. Decorate small paper geodome. (Best decorated small paper geodome can be use as the model for decorating the big geodome.)
  9. Repeat steps 1 through 8 with larger panel dimensions and large sheets of cardboard.
  10. Move geodome into pre-k or primary classroom to be used as a playhouse, reading room etc.

geodome On the left is a diagram of how the dome is put together. The dome is really an Archimedean solid called a truncated octahedron. It is made by joining 8 hexagons and 6 squares in the manner illustrated below. More detailed drawings and assembly directions for this truncated octahedron can be found in most geometry books.

I choose this particular Archimedean solid because the hexagons are large enough to make a stable base for the geodome to rest on and because it required only 14 panels to complete .

The individual panels are made by first drawing a circle. To make the hexagon panel the circle is divided into six equal 60 degree segments while the square is a circle divided into 90 degree segments. After the segments are drawn the segment ends are connected.

To make a small paper dome 6 inches tall make the hexagon circles 5 inches in diameter and the square circles 3 1/2 inches in diameter. When making the 54 inch high play house, make the hexagon circles 44 inches in diameter and the square circles 31 inches in diameter.

hexagon square

Needs List

  • 14 sheets of 8 1/2" by 11" plain white paper
  • 14 sheets of 2 feet by 2 feet sheets of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Compass and protractor
  • Stapler.
  • 1/4" by 3/4" bolts and nuts
  • 1/4" diameter punch
  • Screw driver
  • Simple calculator
  • Same as simple plus
  • Computer loaded with spreadsheet and computer assisted design software
  • Graphing calculator·
  • Cordless electric hand drill with 1/4" drill bit
  • Electric screw driver


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