i am looking for new/fun/creative ways to teach transformations and also solid figures. does anyone have any fun ideas? thanks!

Anything hands on. We make solid figures. I give the kids the nets/jackets and we cut and tape. Then when we talk about faces, edges, and vertices, the kids have have their own models to practice with. I also use tangram sets and the overhead to practice transformations. Each child gets their own little baggie of shapes. (I have a class set, but you could make them out of construction paper.)

Role-playing-gamers' dice (http://dicepool.com/catalog/?gclid=CPCj4cak8pACFQU6awodlzMs2A). In addition to the familiar cubic die, you can get a tetrahedron, an octahedron, a dodecahedron, and even an icosahedron - all of them are Platonic solids.

I agree that hands-on projects are definitely the way to go! I also have my students make solid figures--if you don't want to make them out of paper, you can use toothpicks and marshmallows. For transformations, I have them cut a shape out of construction paper, then copy it on geodot paper. Then they draw it again as a slide, flip, and turn.

I did the marshmallow and toothpick thing last year for a student teaching evaluation... it went quite well...

I know a 4th grade teacher that does geometric aerobics. The kids have the make specific angles with their arms. Demonstrate things like lines, rays, segments, shapes, point to different shapes, "jump one time for each corner of a square, draw a circle, etc." I teach 8th grade and I plan to do this when get get closer to geometry.

I have a lot of the magnetix toys for indoor recess, and we use them to build solids and it works great. I have also done the toothpick and marshmallow or gumdrop to build solids. We also build a geodesic dome that is big enough to sit in!

I remember making solid figures using pipe cleaners and straws cut to the sizes of each straight edge. I think there were four or five we had to make: pyramid (4 sides), cube, octagon, dedoctagon, and mabe cone. It was a project for pairs we did after the figures being introduced in class.

Oooh, magnetix. Great idea. My kids are making them out of paper. I will make them into mobiles when they are done. I use graph paper for transformations. If I have the right size paper for my geometric figures, they can use those, too.

I have done a tessellation art project to teach transformations. Here is a good website. http://mathforum.org/sum95/suzanne/whattess.html

It's also fun to let them find the shapes in the real world. Take walks with your kids and a digital camera (or put them in groups each with a camera if you have them). I've done it two ways: I simply tell them they have to find X number of shapes, or I make it into a scavenger hunt. For transformations I practice with individual white boards. I have a set of shapes that I have cut out (some letters, some shapes) and they show the transformation I call out. Our biggest issue with transformations is vocabulary. Up until 4th grade they call them flips, turns, and slides. We change that to reflections, rotations, and translation. Even when they know the moves they have a hard time with the vocabulary. (This is part of the state curriculum, I don't know why they've done it.)

I did that for a mini-lesson once, but now I think I'll do it as a transition type of thing between activities.