Monday, February 6, 2012

A Little Hands-On Geometry

Teaching Geometry is my favorite part of 4th grade Math.  It lends itself to many hands-on activities.  Students feel success and get excited, especially those who struggle with computation.  I hear my students say, "I'm good at this!"  That my friends, is fun to hear!

During the past couple of weeks, we have been busy constructing and exploring two and three dimensional shapes.  Laura Candler has some amazing Geometry resources!  In teams, my students worked together on Laura's Tangram Polygon Challenge which is free on her website along with Tangram Patterns.  I chose to use the advanced challenge, which allowed room for differentiation.  All students practiced composing and decomposing shapes at their level.  I had some students who were only able to construct simple shapes such as a square with two triangles while my advanced students were able to create more complex figures with more pieces.

We also got a little sticky!  Yes, sticky!  Inspired by a Pinterest photo, my student created three dimensional figures using marshmallows and toothpicks.  It was a little tricky at first, but overall I was very proud of how well they did.  The figures were a little rickety, but after a day or two the marshmallows hardened and they became much more sturdy.  Students were able to count the vertices (marshmallows), edges (toothpicks), and visualize the faces. They thought constructing these three dimensional figures was the best!

Do you use cooperative learning in teaching math?  What ways do you get students actively involved?


~Stephanie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love doing the marshmallow toothpick solid figures. The kids have so much fun! Looks like your kids did too :)

Another thing you can do with them is to have the kids try to make the net of the figure. Using the same materials, they now have to deconstruct the solid. Provides and even greater challenge...and the kids still love it!

Teaching in Room 6

Laura Candler said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love teaching geometry, too! It's my one of my favorite topics to teach in math. The marshmallow activity is fun, and it's also fun to dip the finished structures into a bucket of soapy water to see what kinds of bubbles they make. Messy but fun!
Laura Candler
Teaching Resources

iris said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

hi Im loving all this blogging and finding lots of ideas and fellow kinder teachers 2 Ive been a kinder teacher for 20 years not in the same school though lol. 7 on this one is a bilingual ( spanish? English ) school. I decided to make a bilingual blog to help other teacher who like me had a hard time finding Spanish materials. please check my blog and follow at

Robin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

As part of our Wonka Unit, we also made the marshmallow 3-D structures and then saved them for our Geometry unit that followed right after. It was great for having the kids label line segments, find parallel lines, etc. In addition to marshmallows, we also used gumdrops...yum!

It's All Elementary

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