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Front, Side, and Top Views

Date: 11/22/2003 at 11:30:00
From: Sirat
Subject: Front, side, top views

I'm a teacher in Thailand.  My 7th grade students are learning about
the relationship between two and three dimension.  I'm having trouble
explaining to them what the terms 'front view', 'side view', and 'top
view' mean.  Can you help me? 

Date: 11/23/2003 at 17:13:00
From: Doctor Ian
Subject: Re: Front, side, top views

Hi Sirat,

One way to think about it is this.  Imagine that the shape is sitting
so that it's centered at the origin of an x-y-z coordinate frame.  

Now, if you position yourself along the x-axis and look at the shape,
that's a 'front view'.  If you position yourself along the y-axis and
look at the shape, that's a 'side' view.  If you position yourself
along the z-axis and look at the shape, that's a 'top' view.  

Note that something can look very different from these three views. 
For example, look at the cover illustration of this book:


When viewed from the front, it looks like a 'G'.  Viewed from the
side, it looks like an 'E'.  Viewed from the top, it looks like a 'B'. 

Does this help? 

- Doctor Ian, The Math Forum 
Associated Topics:
Middle School Higher-Dimensional Geometry

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