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?