Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Resource a (Week)Day #18: Geometry Activities

When I taught Geometry last, I found that it was very feasible to structure most of the geometry class like this:

* First, some exploratory activity meant to introduce a new topic and important vocabulary terms
* Some project- or lab- based learning that lasts about 2 or 3 weeks, interleaved with skills taught as needed
* Concentrated skills practice / "review" after the project
* Quiz or test on the skills

Just off the top of my head, the units where this learning structure was very applicable included: 
* Tessellations (we made triangular, quadrilateral, and custom tessellations using rulers and protractors, which motivated some triangular congruent properties) 
* Measurement and conversions (we learned to measure everything from lengths to volume to mass, and practiced some unconventional or indirect methods as well)
*Right-triangle trig (lots of outdoors measurements involving angles of elevation and depression and inclinometers)
* Quadrilateral trig (using KFouss's problems and some paper folding to see why quadrilaterals are built from non-right triangles, which are built from right-triangles)
* Scaling (we did logo projects and calculated how that impacted the perimeters and areas) 
* Perimeter and area (using blueprint of houses on coordinate planes, with circular and concave portions)
* Surface area and volume (kids designed and built their own 3-D composite solids)
* Construction of reflections (mini-golf course designs)
* spatial projections (going from 3-D views to drawing 2-D views, and vice versa, using the computer to verify their hypotheses)

Some of the other traditional topics (integration of algebra with geometry; some coordinate-plane concepts; proofs and counterexamples; and basic geometry visualization based on language) we didn't do through projects, but I tried to still make those parts of the class as interactive as possible. Most of the topics you can illustrate through patty paper, move-around demos, and just plain fun things. Geometry is definitely my favorite class to teach, but I am always looking for new ways to spice it up! I find that after doing a project, the kids are solid with the basics and are ready for me to push them a bit farther on the paper assessment.

Here are some more ideas of projects, from a school in Columbus, NJ. (Sorry but I couldn't find the teacher's name!) I like this list. It has a variety of ideas, so that if our Geometry team decides to do different sets of core topics this year, I can still incorporate projects into my class. I think that it will make a nice complement to the visual / artistic activities from the beginning of Discovering Geometry: An Inductive Approach. 

That's it for today. Till tomorrow! 


  1. Geometry is awesome! What a great list of project ideas. Have you blogged about any of your experiences with them?

  2. Yep - most of them are linked off of the page of posts by topic. The only ones that are missing blogposts are the scaling project and (I think) the 3-D projection project. I thought I had posted briefly about the latter but don't seem to find it in the list. If you have trouble finding one of the posts specifically, let me know and I'll point you at them.