December 31, 2016

Eight Resources Every Geometry Teacher Must Have

I had the privilege of spending a week with Dr. Lisa Poling, a professor at Appalachian State University, which is in North Carolina. Dr. Poling was a teacher with the MELT program - Mathemathics Education Leadership Training. She taught a unit on geometry, measurement and proportion. Each day was filled with hands-on lessons and activities that challenged the way we think about math. I'm excited to share what I've learned with you!!

1. Attribute blocks - I had never heard of these until our workshop. As soon as I used them, they were on my Amazon wish list!! These are perfect for getting students to pay attention to similarities and differences among shapes. To use these cards, students must put shapes on the card. If there is one line between shapes, there must be at least one difference between the shapes. If there are two lines between shapes, there must be at least two differences between shapes. The same goes for three lines - there must be three differences. Attribute blocks are also cool to use with a Venn diagram! 

2. Polydrons - these are so much fun! These are useful if you are talking about lines, edges and vertices. They are especially helps if you are teaching about nets of shapes. We were introduced to Platonoic Solids and asked to construct them using the Polydrons. This really stretched our thinking!!

3. Pattern blocks - I honestly thought these were mostly for recognizing shapes. Boy - was I wrong!! We made shapes with these. We also used them to talk about fractions. What was really cool to me was using them to measure angles. I know that a square is made of 4 90 degree angles. So I put these brown shapes into the corner of a square until the brown shapes equaled a square. It took three brown shapes to equal one square. Therefore 9@ degrees divided by 3 brown shapes = 30 degrees for each brown shape. 

4. Geoboards - Most of the teachers I know try to give these away. However, I learned so many new uses for these!! These can be used to for basics, from making shapes, to harder things, like measuring angles. I used these in a new way this week - to measure area. It stretched my thinking and gave me a much more concrete understanding of what area is and looks like.

5. Game - "24" - This is a really cool game where students are asked to make equations that equal 24. This game lends very well to differentiation, as it comes with various levels of cards, yet they all look the same.

6. Game - "Set" - This game is awesome! Students have to make a "set" of three cards, using pre-determined qualifications. When you play this game, there are four features to look for - color (red, purple or green), shape (oval, squiggle or diamond), number (one, two or three) and shading (solid, striped or outlined). Players must find three cards with three things either all the same or all different. I became hooked and immediately bought a set for my classroom. My students are also hooked and beg to play!

Image result for set game 

7. Hinged mirrors - These are so awesome for teaching angle measurements!! They also help explain how shapes can be broken down into other shapes. I could have played learned with these for hours!

8. Tangrams - Everyone has heard of tangrams, but again, they are underused in geometry class! Even if you don't have enough for an entire class, these are super easy to make with paper and scissors! These not only develop a stronger understanding of shapes, but they make students stronger problem-solvers! The web site, Puzzle Playground, has ready-made activities to use with tangrams.