"Plane" Fun with Polygons | Grade 2 Hullabaloo: "Plane" Fun with Polygons

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Plane" Fun with Polygons


For the past couple of weeks, we have been knee-deep in geometry, and what fun we have had! Geometry is so well-suited to hands-on activities for second graders. I remember geometry in high school being quite tougher. I have a greater appreciation for it now.

We began our explorations with geometric solids. Of course, my kiddos came to me from great kinder and first grade teachers who had given them a great foundation in geometry. We had the most fun with Shape Shadows and Shapes on the Move, both activities from Aims Edu (aimsedu.org). Shape Shadows is a load of fun with flashlights with all of the lights turned off. Students are to put a geometric solid on a pedestal (vocabulary connection time there!) so that one partner can trace the shadows of each geo solid while the other holds the flashlight straight above the figure. It's a fun way to connect plane shapes to geometric solids' faces. The touching, turning and twisting that goes on to trace, get the flashlight in place, and hold it still are all challenging, but so much fun for me to watch as I roam the room to check for understanding.

Shapes on the Move is another Aims Edu activity that delivers as much fun as Shape Shadows! I try to give as few directions as possible, so that the children will do some creative and critical thinking to answer the driving question:

How does the shape of an object affect the way it moves? 

I tell them that I would like for them to explore the geo solids to find answers to this question. They may use materials in the room as their tools. I have privacy screens that make great ramps. I also have big, foam geo solids that I ordered from Aims Edu several years ago. Aims Edu no longer sells them, but I found the same thing here. They have held up well and been a great investment. 

My Favorite Geo Solids

As soon as directions are finished, the children are off to explore with their partners. This one requires lots of time for the children to experiment with all of the geo solids, so we used our math block and our writing block to do it. There is a cute, printable booklet that comes with the directions. We complete it together as a shared writing activity, so the writing integration is authentic. 

I projected the booklet using my Elmo document camera, and the children and I discuss their discoveries. Once we agree on statements about the way each figure moved, I model how to record the observations. Even though it is nearing the end of the school year (29 days left!), I think it's really important to continue to model how to do different kinds of writing. I believe that it gives my hesitant writers extra support to hear what others contribute, and witness how the information should be recorded.It also gives me an opportunity to reinforce mechanics of grammar and spelling patterns. The children love it! They don't even realize that they're working. They think it's play. 

Once the children have a good grasp of faces, vertices and edges, along with the plane shapes related to the geometric solids, we transition to plane shapes. One fun MathArt activity that we completed this week was to work to trace plane shapes to determine the number of angles and sides. We also did some vocabulary work with polygons, dimensions (2 and 3) and recognizing both in the world around us. Here is a preview of our MathArt in progress. We used wikki stix and colorful scrap booking papers to trace or form a variety of plane shapes. We'll add the number of angles and sides during our next math lesson. Here are a few works in progress:

That's it for this post. Look for an upcoming post on cut paper American history time lines! My students went nuts over these!

No comments: