There are many options for teaching geometry but I find that most of it is paper and pencil. While I do believe this has its place in learning, hands-on learning is so much more effective for many youngsters. Miss J is one of these. She thrives when we have something to place in her hands to help her understand ideas and concepts.
Today during her math lesson, she had to identify various shapes. While she knew most of them, she still didn’t enjoy it and struggled a bit with some of the names. After writing a couple of them down, she jumped up and ran away.
My first thought was “she was doing so well and just chugging away; now I am going to have to get onto her.” A minute later she was back and carrying a box. It was our set of 3 dimensional solids. Yep – something to put in her hands to help her feel the idea and solidify it. (Can I get away with that pun?)
She spent the next 20 minutes or so looking at, classifying, naming, sorting, and just enjoying learning about these shapes. By the time she was ready to put them away – yes, she chose to be done with them; I did not make her stop – she had a much stronger understanding of most of the 3D shapes and was able to write those names down with no problem.
Other ideas for hands-on learning of geometric shapes?
- chalk and drawing shapes
- making shapes out of clay
- building shapes from blocks
- pattern blocks from fun foam
- pattern blocks with magnets
These are just some ideas that popped to mind when I thought about writing this post because sometimes we forget how crucial hands-on learning is for students. I encourage you to add some hands-on learning to your math time and see the faces of your student light up.