“Are dimensions infinite?” they asked.

“Ummmm, I am going to have to look that up and get back to you,” I said.

“Can you do a lesson on 4D and 5D shapes?” they asked.

“Ummm, yeah, sure.” I said trying to mask my uncertainty and then realizing I was going to have to do some studying that night.

As you may know, I teach a Year 3 class. In primary. And these are the moments I just love. When my students push me to get them information that I need to go look up myself. Here is motivation at its core. At its barest and most vulnerable. What a beauty.

Below I share some parts of our journey towards the infinite:

I started the lesson as I usually do, with a simple introduction to 3D shape names. What followed was a group activity investigating some 3D shape properties and finally students made their own 3D shapes out of clay. Pretty standard. But I could feel the hushed comments, the whispering in the background. And then it came out: What is 4D? How does a 4D cube look? Does it have a name? Is there 5D? What about 100D? What is a dimension?

Yikes. I was out of my comfort zone. And I can safely say that this has been the best week of the school year (so far). So we ended up answering some of the questions. Some. To the best extent that I could, and to the best extent that a 7 or 8 year old can wrap their head around something so intricate and abstract.

Our final part of the journey ended with a Youtube art tutorial that demonstrated a step by step process for drawing a tesseract – a 4D cube. Now they want to go and find out more. Motivation can truly have infinite dimensions.

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