We started out unit on polyhedrons this week, and are learning first about volumes and surface areas of prisms. I know they've worked out volume and surface area with a vengeance in middle school, but I know they didn't do the "hard" problems. With all this in mind, I started with the information that is shown in "Discovering Geometry" about how the lattices of different substances that are made up of the same elements (carbon) can have way different properties (diamonds vs. graphite), and can behave counter intuitively (water expands when frozen and other things don't).
Then, instead of giving them definition upon definition to copy down (edge, vertex, lateral face...), I handed them 2 blue sheets, and we had a race of cutting out the squares (otherwise, la la la, I'll take my own sweet time to trim VERY neatly and NEVER get done). Then they had to match the cards. I didn't answer any questions (what's oblique mean?), and just said that they should use process of elimination. And, "why are there more than one hexagonal prism cards?" .... you'll figure it out. Here are the sheets. (note: for some reason, the "preview" on box.net comes out all wonky formatted, but it downloads nicely. I'm not sure why that happens.)
At the end, I gave them a key and let them keep these to put in a plastic baggy. I plan to do the same with pyramids, cones, cylinders, on different color paper. I also made sure we had a discussion about correctly describing right and oblique prisms.