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6/9/05
3:25 PM
Page 1
Kindergarten to Grade 3
Geometry and Spatial Sense
Every effort has been made in this publication to identify mathematics resources and
tools (e.g., manipulatives) in generic terms. In cases where a particular product is used
by teachers in schools across Ontario, that product is identified by its trade name, in the
interests of clarity. Reference to particular products in no way implies an endorsement
of those products by the Ministry of Education.
Ministry of Education
Printed on recycled paper
ISBN 0-7794-8119-4
© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2005
Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1
Purpose and Features of This Document
......................
2
“Big Ideas” in the Curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 3 . . . . . . . . .
2
The “Big Ideas” in Geometry and Spatial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4
General Principles of Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5
Properties of Two Dimensional Shapes and
Three-Dimensional Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7
Levels of Geometric Thinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
What Geometric Properties Should Students Learn About? . . . . . . . . . 13
Characteristics of Student Learning and Instructional Strategies
by Grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kindergarten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Geometric Relationships
16
16
19
21
23
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Characteristics of Student Learning and Instructional Strategies
by Grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kindergarten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Une publication équivalente est disponible en français sous le titre suivant :
Guide d’enseignement efficace des mathématiques de la maternelle à la
3e année – Géométrie et sens de l’espace, 2003.
31
31
34
36
40
Location and Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Characteristics of Student Learning and Instructional Strategies
by Grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kindergarten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grade 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References
47
47
48
49
51
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Learning Activities for Geometry and Spatial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Getting in Shape . . . . . . . . . . 61
Blackline masters: Prop2DK.BLM1 – Prop2DK.BLM5
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: What’s in the Bag?
Blackline masters: Prop3DK.BLM1 – Prop2DK.BLM2
. . . . . . . 69
Geometric Relationships: The Shape of Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Blackline masters: GeoRelK.BLM1 – GeoRelK.BLM3
Location and Movement: Over, Under, Here, and There . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Blackline masters: LocK.BLM1 – LocK.BLM2
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Explore-a-Shape
Blackline masters: Prop2D1.BLM1 – Prop2D1.BLM5
. . . . . . . . . . 89
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: Famous Figures . . . . . . . . . . 97
Blackline masters: Prop3D1.BLM1 – Prop3D1.BLM5
Geometric Relationships: Pattern Block Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Blackline masters: GeoRel1.BLM1 – GeoRel1.BLM5
Location and Movement: Simply Symmetrical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Blackline masters: Loc1.BLM1 – Loc1.BLM3
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Polygons on Parade . . . . . . . . 121
Blackline masters: Prop2D2.BLM1 – Prop2D2.BLM4
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: Build It in 3-D . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Blackline masters: Prop3D2.BLM1 – Prop3D2.BLM2
iv
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Geometric Relationships: Geometry Exploration Centres
Blackline masters: GeoRel2.BLM1 – GeoRel2.BLM9
. . . . . . . . . . 135
Location and Movement: Are We There Yet? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Blackline masters: Loc2.BLM1 – Loc2.BLM4
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Geoboard Gems . . . . . . . . . . 151
Blackline masters: Prop2D3.BLM1 – Prop2D3.BLM2
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: Nets or Not . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Blackline masters: Prop3D3.BLM1 – Prop3D3.BLM4
Geometric Relationships: Shapes From Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Blackline masters: GeoRel3.BLM1 – GeoRel3.BLM3
Location and Movement: Quite the Quilts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Blackline masters: Loc3.BLM1 – Loc3.BLM6
Appendix E: Correspondence of the Big Ideas and the Curriculum
Expectations in Geometry and Spatial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . To come
Glossary
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Contents
v
Introduction
This document is a practical guide that teachers will find useful in helping
students to achieve the curriculum expectations for mathematics outlined in
The Kindergarten Program, 1998 (on page 16, under the subheading Spatial Sense
and Geometry) and those outlined in the Geometry and Spatial Sense strand
for Grades 1 to 3 in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: Mathematics, 2005.
It is a companion document to A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics,
Kindergarten to Grade 6, 2005.
The expectations outlined in the curriculum documents describe the knowledge
and skills that students are expected to acquire by the end of each grade. In
Early Math Strategy: The Report of the Expert Panel on Early Math in Ontario
(Expert Panel on Early Math, 2003), effective instruction is identified as critical to
the successful learning of mathematical knowledge and skills, and the components
of an effective program are described. As part of the process of implementing
the panel’s vision of effective mathematics instruction for Ontario, A Guide
to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 6, 2005 provides a
framework for teaching mathematics. This framework includes specific strategies
for developing an effective program and for creating a community of learners
in which students’ mathematical thinking is nurtured. The strategies described
in the guide focus on the “big ideas” inherent in the expectations; on problem
solving as the main context for mathematical activity; and on communication,
especially student talk, as the conduit for sharing and developing mathematical
thinking. The guide also provides strategies for assessment, the use of manipulatives, and home connections.
1
Purpose and Features of This Document
The present document was developed as a practical application of the principles
and theories behind good instruction that are elaborated in A Guide to Effective
Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 6, 2005.
The present document provides:
• an overview of each of the big ideas in the Geometry and Spatial Sense strand;
• four appendices (Appendices A–D), one for each grade from Kindergarten
to Grade 3, which provide learning activities that introduce, develop, or help
to consolidate some aspect of each big idea. These learning activities reflect
the instructional practices recommended in A Guide to Effective Instruction
in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 6, 2005;
• an appendix (Appendix E, forthcoming) that lists the curriculum expectations
in the Geometry and Spatial Sense strand under the big idea(s) to which
they correspond. This clustering of expectations around each of the three
big ideas allows teachers to concentrate their programming on the big ideas
of the strand while remaining confident that the full range of curriculum
expectations is being addressed;
• a glossary that provides definitions of geometric terms used in this document.
“Big Ideas” in the Curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 3
In developing a mathematics program, it is vital to concentrate on important
mathematical concepts, or “big ideas”, and the knowledge and skills that go
with those concepts. Programs that are organized around big ideas and focus
on problem solving provide cohesive learning opportunities that allow students
to explore concepts in depth.
All learning, especially new learning, should be embedded in well-chosen
contexts for learning – that is, contexts that are broad enough to allow
students to investigate initial understandings, identify and develop
relevant supporting skills, and gain experience with varied and interesting
applications of the new knowledge. Such rich contexts for learning open
the door for students to see the “big ideas”, or key principles, of mathematics, such as pattern or relationship. (Ontario Ministry of Education,
2005b, p. 6)
Students are better able to see the connections in mathematics and thus to
learn mathematics when it is organized in big, coherent “chunks”. In organizing
a mathematics program, teachers should concentrate on the big ideas in
2
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
mathematics and view the expectations in the curriculum policy document for
Kindergarten and Grades 1 to 3 as being clustered around those big ideas.
The clustering of expectations around big ideas provides a focus for student
learning and for teacher professional development in mathematics. Teachers
will find that investigating and discussing effective teaching strategies for a
big idea is much more valuable than trying to determine specific strategies and
approaches to help students achieve individual expectations. In fact, using big
ideas as a focus helps teachers see that the concepts represented in the curriculum expectations should not be taught as isolated bits of information but rather
as a network of interrelated concepts. In building a program, teachers need a
sound understanding of the key mathematical concepts for their students’ grade
level and of how those concepts connect with students’ prior and future learning
(Ma, 1999). Such understanding includes the “conceptual structure and basic
attitudes of mathematics inherent in the elementary curriculum” (p. xxiv) and
how best to teach the concepts to children. Concentrating on developing this
understanding will enhance effective teaching.
Focusing on the big ideas provides teachers with a global view of the concepts
represented in the strand. The big ideas also act as a “lens” for:
• making instructional decisions (e.g., choosing an emphasis for a lesson or set
of lessons);
• identifying prior learning;
• looking at students’ thinking and understanding in relation to the mathematical
concepts addressed in the curriculum (e.g., making note of the ways in which
a student sorts two-dimensional shapes by properties);
• collecting observations and making anecdotal records;
• providing feedback to students;
• determining next steps;
• communicating concepts and providing feedback on students’ achievement
to parents1 (e.g., in report card comments).
Teachers are encouraged to focus their instruction on the big ideas of mathematics.
By clustering expectations around a few big ideas, teachers can teach for depth
of understanding. This document provides models for clustering the expectations
around a few major concepts and includes activities that foster understanding
of the big ideas in Geometry and Spatial Sense. Teachers can use these models
in developing other lessons in Geometry and Spatial Sense, as well as lessons
in other strands of mathematics.
1. In this document, parent(s) refers to parent(s) and guardian(s).
Introduction
3
The “Big Ideas” in Geometry
and Spatial Sense
Spatial sense is necessary for understanding and appreciating the
many geometric aspects of our world. Insights and intuitions about
the characteristics of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
figures, the interrelationships of shapes, and the effects of changes to
shapes are important aspects of spatial sense.
(Ontario Ministry of Education, 2005b, p. 9)
Overview
The Geometry and Spatial Sense strand of the Ontario mathematics curriculum
involves investigations about shapes, structures, and spatial relationships.
Geometry and Spatial Sense is a relevant area of mathematics for young children,
who are naturally curious about their physical world. Learning experiences
in the primary grades should provide students with opportunities to explore
geometric and spatial concepts, and to relate them to real-life situations.
By the time children enter school, they have already developed significant notions
about shape and space – the result of everyday experiences in moving about in
their environment and in interacting with the objects around them (Clements,
Swaminathan, Hannibal, & Sarama, 1999). Classroom experiences can build
on what students already understand about geometry and can help students:
• recognize and appreciate geometry in the world;
• develop reasoning and problem-solving skills related to geometric thinking;
• apply geometric ideas in other strands of mathematics (e.g., measuring
lengths, perimeters, and areas of shapes; using concrete materials, such
as square tiles, to represent numerical ideas; creating and extending
geometric patterns);
• apply geometric ideas in other subjects (e.g., creating two- and threedimensional works in the arts, developing map skills in social studies,
building structures in science and technology).
4
This section focuses on the three big ideas that form the basis for the curriculum
expectations in Geometry and Spatial Sense for Kindergarten to Grade 3. An
understanding of these big ideas assists teachers in providing instructional and
assessment opportunities that promote student learning of important concepts
in Geometry and Spatial Sense.
The big ideas in Geometry and Spatial Sense are the following:
• properties of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures
• geometric relationships
• location and movement
Teachers should recognize that these big ideas are conceptually related and
interdependent, and that many instructional experiences reflect more than one
of the big ideas. For example, an activity in which students construct models of
three-dimensional figures provides opportunities for students to learn about the
properties of three-dimensional figures and about the geometric relationships
between three-dimensional figures and their two-dimensional faces.
The discussion of each big idea in this section includes:
• an overview, which provides a general discussion of the big idea in the primary
grades, an explanation of some of the key concepts inherent in the big idea,
and in some instances additional background information on the concepts
for the teacher;
• grade-specific descriptions of (1) characteristics of learning evident in
students who have been introduced to the concepts addressed in the big idea,
and (2) instructional strategies that will support those learning characteristics.
General Principles of Instruction
The following principles of instruction are relevant in teaching Geometry and
Spatial Sense in the primary grades:
• Student talk is important. Students need to talk about and talk through
mathematical concepts, with one another and with the teacher.
• Representations of concepts promote understanding and communication.
In Geometry and Spatial Sense, concepts can be represented in various ways
(e.g., using manipulatives, familiar objects, illustrations, diagrams). As students
investigate geometric ideas, it is important that they manipulate concrete
materials and do not simply view pictures and diagrams of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures. As well, students should be encouraged
to make their own representations of mathematical ideas using concrete
materials, pictures, and diagrams.
The “Big Ideas” in Geometry and Spatial Sense
5
• Students learn through problem solving. Problem-solving situations provide opportunities for students to reason about mathematical ideas and to
apply concepts and skills in meaningful contexts.
• Students need frequent experiences using a variety of learning
strategies (e.g., playing games, using movement, sorting, classifying,
constructing) and resources (e.g., using models of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures, geoboards, pattern blocks, or
tangram pieces). A variety of learning strategies should be used in instruction
to address the learning styles of different children.
• Teachers can help students acquire mathematical language by using
correct mathematical vocabulary themselves. Beginning in Kindergarten,
teachers should model appropriate mathematical terminology as they discuss
geometric ideas with their students. They should encourage students to use
mathematical vocabulary that will allow them to express themselves clearly
and precisely.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
and Three-Dimensional Figures
Overview
Preschool children learn to recognize two-dimensional shapes and threedimensional figures by their appearance. Shown a rectangle and asked to
identify it, children might say, “It’s a rectangle, because it looks like a door.”
Early in the development of their geometric thinking, children have little
understanding of geometric properties – the characteristics that define a shape
or figure. They do not rationalize, for example, that the shape is a rectangle
because it has four sides and four right angles.
Research (Clements et al., 1999) indicates that children aged 4 to 6 years begin
to recognize and describe properties of shapes. Their explanations of shapes are
incomplete, but they have developed some notions about them. For example,
children might explain that a shape is a square because “it has four sides”.
Students learn about geometric properties as they view, handle, and manipulate
objects (Copley, 2000). At first, students describe objects using vocabulary
related to observable attributes: colour, size (e.g., big, small, long, thin), texture
(e.g., smooth, rough, bumpy), movement (e.g., slide, roll), material (e.g., wood,
plastic). Instruction in the primary grades helps to focus students’ attention
on geometric features of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures
so that students begin to think about the properties that make a rectangle a
rectangle, or a cylinder a cylinder. The emphasis in instruction, however, is on
developing students’ ability to analyse and describe the geometric properties
of shapes and figures, not on their ability to learn the definitions.
The following key points can be made about properties of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the primary grades:
• Two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures have properties
that allow them to be identified, compared, sorted, and classified.
• Experience with two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures,
represented in a variety of forms, sizes, and orientations, allows students
to understand those properties.
7
Identifying, comparing, sorting, and classifying shapes and figures according
to their properties
An understanding of the properties of two-dimensional shapes and threedimensional figures allows students to identify, compare, sort, and classify
shapes and figures, not only by their general appearance but also by their
geometric characteristics. Students learn to focus on geometric properties
by observing and experimenting with specific parts of shapes and figures.
Identifying shapes and figures: Young students identify a shape, such as
a triangle, by its appearance as a whole. For example, students might identify
shape A (below) as a triangle because it resembles their mental image of what a
triangle should look like. They might not think that shape B is a triangle, arguing
that the shape looks “too long” or “too thin” to be a triangle. As children’s understanding of geometric properties emerges, they begin to apply this knowledge to
analysing and identifing shapes. With an understanding of the properties of a
triangle, children will conclude that shape B is a triangle because it, like shape A,
has three sides.
B
A
Before young students learn the names of three-dimensional figures, they often
identify them, incorrectly, by the names of two-dimensional shapes. For example,
it is not uncommon for a young student to call a sphere a “circle” or to name a
cube a “square”. It is important that teachers model the correct names of threedimensional figures and that they encourage their students to use the proper
terminology.
Comparing shapes and figures: Asking students to compare two-dimensional
shapes or three-dimensional figures helps students focus on specific parts and
builds students’ knowledge of the distinguishing properties of shapes and figures.
Teachers can show two shapes or figures and have students explain the ways in
which the shapes or figures are alike and different. Asked to compare a triangular
prism and a square-based pyramid, for example, students can observe that both
figures have triangular faces. The figures usually differ, however, in the shapes of
other faces and always differ in the number of edges and the number of vertices.
8
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Sorting shapes and figures: Opportunities to sort two-dimensional shapes and
three-dimensional figures by their geometric properties allow students to observe
that different shapes or figures can be alike in some way. Initially, students’ sorting
criteria are informal, based on their own observation of shapes and figures.
These shapes have curved sides.
These figures are pointed.
Teachers can also suggest sorting criteria that draw students’ attention to geometric
properties. Students might, for example, sort two-dimensional shapes according
to the number of sides or the number of vertices. Three-dimensional figures might
be sorted according to the shapes of their faces.
Figures With Rectangular Faces
Figures With Triangular Faces
Figures With Circular Faces
Discussions between teachers and students during and after sorting activities are
critical in helping students think about geometric properties. To encourage reflection about geometric properties, teachers might asks students such questions as:
• “What is your sorting rule?”
• “How are all the shapes/figures in this group the same?”
• “Why did you not include this shape/figure in this group?”
• “Is there another way to sort the shapes/figures into groups?”
In these conversations, teachers can model the mathematical language that
students need to express ideas about properties clearly and precisely.
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
9
Classifying shapes and figures: When students classify two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures, they need to think about the distinguishing
properties of shapes or figures in a category. For example, students can deduce
that since all of the following shapes have four sides and four square corners,
they are all rectangles. This type of rationalization allows students to include
non-traditional or “strange-looking” shapes or figures (e.g., shape E) in a category
to which they might otherwise not appear to belong.
Discussions between students and teachers following classification activities
can emphasize the properties that are common to all shapes or figures within
a category and those that are shared by some of the shapes or figures. Here are
examples of all and some statements:
• All triangles have three sides; some triangles have two sides of equal length.
• All rhombuses have four equal sides; some rhombuses have square corners.
• All pyramids have a base; some pyramids have a square base.
• All prisms have rectangular faces; some prisms also have triangular faces.
Experiencing various representations of shapes and figures
The preschool experiences of most students provide opportunities for them to
identify circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. Young students develop some
fixed notions of what these shapes look like, mainly because the examples that
they are shown usually portray each type of shape in the same form and orientation, as illustrated below.
Circle
10
Square
Rectangle
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Triangle
To deepen students’ understanding of the properties of different types of shapes,
teachers should ensure that students have opportunities to view, manipulate, and
discuss many different examples of a type of shape (Clements, 1999; Hannibal,
1999). Observation of the following shapes might challenge students’ thinking
about what a triangle looks like. A discussion would help students conclude
that all the shapes have three sides and, therefore, all are triangles.
Viewing and discussing a variety of shapes of different sizes and forms and in
different orientations helps students to understand the properties of shapes.
Using the preceding examples of triangles, students learn to recognize that even
a shape with a non-traditional form is a triangle if it possesses the properties of
a triangle (e.g., three sides). Discussion with students can help them to develop
their understanding of the properties of different shapes. For example, students
and teachers can examine other characteristics of triangles and conclude that
triangles not only have three sides but also have three corners as well.
At first, students’ understanding of the properties of some shapes may be
incomplete. They may know, for example, that a square has four sides of equal
length and may recognize that shapes A, B, and C, below, are squares. If students
have yet to learn about right angles, they may have difficulty deciding whether
shape D is also a square.
As in their work with two-dimensional shapes, students should have opportunities
to explore a variety of three-dimensional figures. For example, an investigation of
cylinders can include familiar forms, such as soup cans, as well as less obviously
cylindrical objects, such as candles and glue sticks. By examining and discussing
figures of different sizes and forms and in various orientations, students learn that
figures can be identified by their geometric properties rather than by their general
appearance alone.
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
11
Levels of Geometric Thinking
Pierre van Hiele and Dina van Hiele-Geldof researched the increasingly
complex levels of understanding that can be attained as students continue
to learn geometric concepts. These researchers proposed a model of five levels
of geometric thinking (van Hiele, 1959/1985):
• Level 0: Visualization. Students recognize and identify two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures by their appearance as a whole.
Students do not describe properties (defining characteristics) of shapes
and figures. Level 0 represents the geometric thinking of many students
in the early primary grades.
• Level 1: Analysis. Students recognize the properties of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures. They understand that all shapes or
figures within a class share common properties (e.g., all rectangles have
four sides, with opposite sides parallel and congruent). Level 1 represents the
geometric thinking of many students in the later primary and the junior grades.
• Level 2: Informal deduction. Students use informal, logical reasoning to
deduce properties of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures
(e.g., if one pair of opposite sides of a quadrilateral is parallel and congruent,
then the other pair of opposite sides must be parallel and congruent). Level 2
represents the geometric thinking required in mathematics programs at the
intermediate and secondary levels.
• Level 3: Deduction. Students use deductive reasoning to make conclusions
about abstract geometric principles. Level 3 represents the geometric thinking
required in secondary and post-secondary mathematics courses.
• Level 4: Rigour. Students compare different geometric theories and
hypotheses. Level 4 represents the geometric thinking required in advanced
mathematics courses.
Although most levels in the model of geometric thinking do not pertain to students
in Kindergarten to Grade 3, it is important for teachers of primary grades to
consider the following:
• Progression from one level to the next is less dependent on students’ age or
maturation than on instruction that promotes reasoning about geometric ideas.
Teachers of primary students need to provide the kinds of instructional activities
that help students move beyond merely recognizing two-dimensional shapes
and three-dimensional figures (level 0) to understanding the properties of
shapes and figures (level 1).
• The levels are sequential, and success at one level depends on the development
of geometric thinking at the preceding level. If students’ level of thinking
does not progress beyond level 0 (visualization), it is likely that they will
struggle with geometric concepts at higher levels.
12
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
What Geometric Properties Should
Students Learn About?
Learning about geometric properties allows students to develop the concepts
and language they need to analyse and describe two-dimensional shapes and
three-dimensional figures with precision. As students’ understanding of
properties grows, their informal language (e.g., “This pyramid has triangles”)
gives way to descriptions that reflect a deeper understanding of shapes and
figures (e.g., “The pyramid has a square base and four triangular faces”).
The following explanations reflect ideas that students and teachers might
discuss in conversations about the properties of two-dimensional shapes and
three-dimensional figures. It is inappropriate to expect students to memorize
definitions that delineate the properties of different shapes and figures.
Properties of two-dimensional shapes
The following properties are significant in identifying and describing
two-dimensional shapes:
• Number of sides: One of the first properties students learn to consider is
the number of sides a shape has. This information allows students to identify
triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, and octagons.
• Number of vertices: Young students refer to the “corners” in some
two-dimensional shapes. In Grades 2 and 3, students learn that the point
at which two sides meet is called a vertex. With experiences in counting
the vertices in a shape, students recognize that the number of vertices is
the same as the number of sides.
• Length of sides: Students learn that the length of sides is an important
property in many two-dimensional shapes. They recognize that the sides of
squares and rhombuses are of equal length and that the lengths of opposite
sides of rectangles and parallelograms are equal.
• Size of angles: Students in the primary grades are capable of understanding
basic ideas about angles (Clements, 2004a). Teachers can demonstrate to
students that angles are formed where two lines meet and can ask students
to indicate the angles of various polygons. Without learning measurement
procedures, students can compare the sizes of angles visually and can express
the comparisons using “bigger”, “smaller”, or “equal”.
A property of rectangles is that they have four right angles. In the primary
grades, students develop the concept of a right or 90˚ angle. Teachers and
students may use informal expressions (e.g., square corners, square angles)
to refer to right angles.
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
13
• Parallel lines: The notion of parallel lines can be introduced informally
to primary students as “two lines that run side by side in the same direction
and remain the same distance apart”. Finding examples of parallel lines in the
classroom (e.g., the top and bottom edges of a bulletin board, the opposite
sides of a book cover) helps students recognize and describe parallel lines
in parallelograms.
Properties of three-dimensional figures
By Grade 3, students should be able to describe the following properties of threedimensional figures. Their description of these properties may be incomplete –
a reflection of their emerging understanding of three-dimensional geometry.
Number and shapes of faces: The properties of a polyhedron (a threedimensional figure that has polygons for its faces) can best be described
according to the number and shapes of its faces. For example, a cube has
six square faces, a rectangular prism has six rectangular faces, and a squarebased pyramid has one square face and four triangular faces.
Cube
Rectangular Prism
Square-Based Pyramid
In Grade 3, an examination and discussion of various prisms leads students
to understand that the structures of all prisms resemble one another – that
each prism is composed of two congruent, parallel faces with rectangles forming
its other faces. A prism takes its name from the shape of the congruent and
parallel faces.
Rectangular Prism
14
Triangular Prism
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Students also learn that pyramids have a polygon for a base and that the other
faces are triangles. The shape of the base determines the name of the pyramid.
Square-Based Pyramid
Triangle-Based Pyramid
Describing the properties of spheres, cones, and cylinders in terms of their
faces is not as clear as for polyhedra (plural of polyhedron). Much discussion
has occurred among mathematics teachers as they attempt to answer such
questions as “How many faces does a cylinder have?” and “Does a cone have
one or two faces?”
Cone
Cylinder
Some teachers may argue that a cylinder has two faces because only two surfaces
are flat. Others may contend that a cylinder has three faces including the curved
surface. The debates about the number of faces a cylinder and a cone have can
continue at length without anyone arriving at a conclusion. What matters in students’ development of geometric thinking is not the learning of exact definitions
of three-dimensional figures but the development of skill in analysing and
describing geometric figures in meaningful ways.
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
15
Number of edges or vertices: In addition to face and surface, such words as
edge and vertex allow students to describe three-dimensional figures and their
properties. The purpose of teaching such terms to students is to provide them
with the language to express ideas about geometry, not to provide definitions
that students are expected to memorize.
Vertex
Face
Edge
Characteristics of Student Learning
and Instructional Strategies by Grade
KINDERGARTEN
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Kindergarten:
• recognize and identify circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles by their
appearance as a whole but do not think about properties of the shapes.
For example, a student might recognize that a shape is a rectangle “because
it looks like a door”.
Because Kindergarten students may not think about the defining properties of
two-dimensional shapes, they may mistakenly identify shapes that resemble
squares, triangles, and rectangles.
Example 1: Students might identify the following shapes as rectangles:
Example 2: Students might think that the following shapes are triangles:
Through discussions of a wide variety of shapes, students learn to recognize
examples and non-examples of shapes;
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• recognize squares, triangles, and rectangles if the forms are familiar, but may
not recognize shapes that appear different from students’ mental images.
Example 1: Students might readily recognize shapes A and B as triangles but
might reject shape C as a triangle because of its non-traditional or unusual
shape and orientation.
Example 2: Students might identify shape D as a square, but they might not
recognize that the rotated shape (shape E) is also a square. Instead, students
might refer to shape E as a “kite” or a “diamond”.
Through discussions of a wide variety of shapes, students learn to recognize
squares, triangles, and rectangles of any form, size, or orientation;
• visualize circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, although their mental
images will be of traditional shapes. Asked to visualize a square, students
might respond by saying, “I see a box” or “I see four lines”;
• learn the proper names of three-dimensional figures. Before they learn the
correct terminology, it is not uncommon for some Kindergarten students to
call a sphere a “circle”, or to name a cube a “square”;
• describe and identify characteristics of three-dimensional figures.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Kindergarten benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing opportunities to manipulate, draw, and represent (e.g., on a
geoboard) two-dimensional shapes;
• discussing examples and non-examples of two-dimensional shapes. Discussions
of such questions as the following encourage students to focus on the attributes
of two-dimensional shapes and promote the development of appropriate
geometric language:
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
17
Why are these triangles?
Why are these not triangles? What could be done to each shape to make it
a triangle?
Note: When discussing examples and non-examples of rectangles, include
squares as examples of rectangles. If students say, “That’s not a rectangle
because it’s a square,” respond by stating that a square is a special kind of
rectangle and explaining that a square is also a rectangle because a square
has four sides and four square corners. Although it is premature to expect
students to explain the relationship between rectangles and squares, avoid
giving misinformation, such as “That’s a square, not a rectangle”;
• discussing two-dimensional shapes so that students develop the concepts
and language that allow them to explain why a shape belongs to a certain
category (e.g., “It’s a weird-looking triangle because it’s long and thin, but
it’s still a triangle because it has three sides”);
• discussing how shapes feel. Students can handle, feel, and describe twodimensional shapes (e.g., plastic or wooden shapes, cardboard cut-outs)
that are in a bag or box without looking at the shapes;
• providing experiences in constructing squares, rectangles, and triangles
with materials (e.g., straws, toothpicks) and of discussing the properties
of the shapes (e.g., a triangle has three sides);
• providing opportunities to locate and discuss examples of two-dimensional
shapes in the environment. Discussions should include non-traditional
examples of rectangles and triangles (e.g., “Although the strip of paper
along the bottom of the bulletin board is long and thin, it is still a rectangle
because it has four sides and four square corners”);
• providing many experiences in sorting two-dimensional shapes and threedimensional figures, and in discussing why a shape or figure belongs or
does not belong to a certain category;
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• providing opportunities to match shapes (e.g., matching shapes drawn from
a paper bag to shapes on a display board);
• discussing the name, form, and properties of three-dimensional figures.
For example, put out three objects, such as a box, a cone, and a ball. Describe
one of the objects (e.g., “All its surfaces are flat”), and ask the students to tell
which figure you are describing. Provide opportunities for students to describe
the three-dimensional figures themselves.
GRADE 1
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 1:
• identify concrete and pictorial examples of two-dimensional shapes (circles,
triangles, quadrilaterals) of any form, size, or orientation. Some students
may mistakenly identify shapes that resemble circles, squares, triangles, and
rectangles. For example, some students might think that the following shapes
are rectangles:
• describe properties of two-dimensional shapes. Although their descriptions
may be incomplete and demonstrate an emerging understanding of geometric
terminology, students explain some of the important features of shapes
(e.g., “A square has four equal sides”);
• recognize non-traditional triangles and rectangles and apply their basic
knowledge of shapes to verify their thinking. For the following figure,
a student might say, “It’s a long and thin, weird-looking shape, but it’s
still a triangle because it has three sides”;
• visualize circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, although their mental
image will be of traditional shapes. Students can respond to “Think of a
rectangle. What do you see?”;
• identify concrete and pictorial examples of three-dimensional shapes
(e.g., cube, cone, sphere, rectangular prism), and describe their attributes
(a sphere is round all over and it rolls, a prism has flat sides and it stacks).
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
19
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 1 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing opportunities to manipulate, draw, construct, and represent
(e.g., on a geoboard) two-dimensional shapes;
• discussing examples and non-examples of two-dimensional shapes. Discussions
of such questions as the following encourage students to focus on the properties
of two-dimensional shapes and promote the development of appropriate
geometry language:
Why are these rectangles?
Why are these not rectangles? What could be done to each shape to make
it a rectangle?
Note: When discussing examples and non-examples of rectangles, include
squares as examples of rectangles. If students say, “That’s not a rectangle
because it’s a square,” respond by stating that a square is a special kind of
rectangle and explaining that a square is also a rectangle because a square
has four sides and four square corners. Although it is premature to expect
students to explain the relationship between rectangles and squares, avoid
giving misinformation, such as, “That’s a square, not a rectangle”;
• discussing the characteristics of two-dimensional shapes so that students
develop the concepts and language that allow them to explain why a shape
belongs to a certain category (e.g., “All of these shapes are rectangles because
they all have four sides and four square corners”);
• using games that focus students’ attention on the properties of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures. For example, students might play
“Guess My Shape/Figure” in which students listen to a description of a
two-dimensional shape or a three-dimensional figure and try to identify it.
For example, the teacher might say, “My figure has a square on it. It has a
point on it. Guess my figure!”;
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• providing opportunities to measure, fold, and cut two-dimensional shapes
to investigate and identify their properties (e.g., fold a square to observe that
all sides are equal);
• providing experiences in constructing and manipulating shapes on a computer
(e.g., using the drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• providing opportunities to locate and describe examples of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the environment;
• providing many experiences in sorting and classifying two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures according to a variety of observable
attributes, and in discussing why a shape or figure belongs or does not
belong to a certain category;
• having them describe the similarities and differences between two twodimensional shapes or two three-dimensional figures;
• discussing the properties and attributes of three-dimensional figures. For
example, students can explain that a cone has a circular face (property) and
that it rolls on its curved surface (attribute);
• providing experiences in building structures using concrete materials (e.g.,
building blocks, construction sets) and in discussing the two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structure;
•
providing experiences in constructing models of three-dimensional figures
(e.g., making a cube using modelling clay);
• allowing them to hear teachers use and explain correct geometric terminology,
even if students are not expected to use the vocabulary themselves. For example,
the teacher might say, “Yoko called this shape a squished rectangle. This shape
is a quadrilateral because it is a shape with four sides.”
GRADE 2
In general, students in Grade 2:
• identify concrete and pictorial examples of squares, rectangles, and triangles,
regardless of form, size, or orientation (e.g., the following square and triangle);
The shape looks like a diamond,
but it is a square because it has
four equal sides and four square corners.
The shape is long and thin,
but it is a triangle because
it has three sides.
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
21
• describe properties of two-dimensional shapes (e.g., a rectangle has four sides
and four square corners) and three-dimensional figures (e.g., a cone has a
curved surface and a circular face);
• identify two-dimensional shapes (triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon,
heptagon, octagon) by counting the number of sides or the number of vertices;
• identify and describe concrete and pictorial examples of three-dimensional
figures (cube, cone, cylinder, sphere, prism, pyramid);
• identify and describe the faces and surfaces of three-dimensional figures.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 2 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing opportunities to manipulate, draw, construct, and represent
(e.g., on a geoboard) two-dimensional shapes;
• providing experiences in constructing and manipulating shapes on a computer
(e.g., using the drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• having them identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons,
and octagons by counting the number of sides or the number of vertices.
Examples should include regular and irregular polygons;
Regular Hexagon
Irregular Hexagon
• discussing characteristics of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
figures so that students develop the concepts and language related to geometric
properties;
• providing opportunities to locate and describe examples of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the environment;
• providing many experiences in sorting and classifying two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., according to number of sides or vertices) and three-dimensional
figures (e.g., according to the shapes of faces), and in discussing why a shape
or figure belongs or does not belong to a certain category;
• having them describe the similarities and differences between two twodimensional shapes or two three-dimensional figures;
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• providing experiences in constructing models of three-dimensional figures
using materials (e.g., modelling clay, cardboard cut-outs, and Polydron pieces),
and in describing the two-dimensional faces of three-dimensional figures;
• providing experiences in constructing the skeletons of prisms and pyramids
using such materials as drinking straws and toothpicks;
• using games that focus students’ attention on the properties of two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures. Examples of games include:
– Guess My Shape/Figure. In this game, students listen to a description of a
two-dimensional shape or a three-dimensional figure and try to identify it.
For example, a teacher might use this description: “My figure has two circular
faces and a curved surface. What is my figure?”
– Guess My Rule. After the teacher or a student has sorted a collection of
two-dimensional shapes or three-dimensional figures, students observe
the sorted shapes or figures and try to determine the sorting rule.
GRADE 3
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 3:
• recognize a variety of two-dimensional shapes (e.g., hexagons, rhombuses,
parallelograms) of any form, size, or orientation. Students verify their
identification of a shape by analysing properties (e.g., side lengths,
parallelism, angle size); for example, the following shape has four sides,
and opposite sides are parallel, so the shape is a parallelogram:
• describe properties of two-dimensional shapes (e.g., a rhombus has four sides
of equal length) and three-dimensional figures (e.g., a pentagonal prism has
two faces that are pentagons and five rectangular faces);
• name prisms and pyramids by the shape of their base (e.g., triangular prism,
square-based pyramid). As well, students identify and describe the shapes of
the other faces of prisms and pyramids (e.g., the faces of a triangular prism
are two triangles and three rectangles);
• identify angles in two-dimensional shapes (e.g., a triangle has three angles,
a rectangle has four right angles).
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Figures
23
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 3 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing opportunities to manipulate, draw, construct, and represent
(e.g., on a geoboard) two-dimensional shapes;
• providing experiences in constructing and manipulating shapes on a computer
(e.g., using the drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• discussing characteristics of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
figures so that students develop the concepts and language related to geometric
properties;
• providing many experiences in sorting and classifying two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures according to two or more properties.
Venn diagrams allow students to sort shapes and figures and to find shared
properties. The following Venn diagram shows a way to sort some shapes;
Quadrilaterals
Shapes With
Square Corners
• having them describe the similarities and differences between two twodimensional shapes or two three-dimensional figures;
• providing experiences in constructing and taking apart three-dimensional
figures (e.g., using cardboard cut-outs, connecting plastic shapes), and in
describing the faces and surfaces of the three-dimensional figures;
• providing experiences in constructing rectangular prisms from nets;
• providing opportunities to describe and compare angles in two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., “This triangle has a right angle and has two angles that are
smaller than a right angle”).
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Geometric Relationships
The most important connection for early mathematics development is
between the intuitive, informal mathematics that students have learned
through their own experiences and the mathematics they are learning in
school. All other connections – between one mathematical concept and
another, between different mathematics topics, between mathematics
and other fields of knowledge, and between mathematics and everyday
life – are supported by the link between the students’ informal experiences
and more-formal mathematics. Students’ abilities to experience mathematics
as a meaningful endeavor that makes sense rests on these connections.
(National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000, p. 132)
Overview
In Geometry and Spatial Sense, as in all areas of the mathematics program, there
are many relationships that teachers should highlight with their students during
learning experiences. It is important that students grasp connections between
geometric concepts and that they see how geometry is relevant in other subjects
and in real-life situations. Some relationships are particularly important in students’
development of geometric understanding, and teachers need to provide their
students with many learning activities that focus on these geometric relationships
throughout the primary grades.
The following are key points that can be made about geometric relationships
in the primary years:
• Two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures can be composed
from or decomposed into other shapes and figures.
• Relationships exist between two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometry
(e.g., the two-dimensional faces of three-dimensional figures).
• Relationships exist between categories of two-dimensional shapes (e.g., rectangles are also quadrilaterals, squares are also rectangles).
• Congruence is a special geometric relationship that is shared by shapes having
the same shape and the same size.
25
Composing and decomposing two-dimensional shapes and
three-dimensional figures
On entering school, most students are able to locate examples of shapes in their
environment. They also recognize that the shapes they identify rarely occur in
isolation but that many shapes are components of larger shapes or objects. Asked
to find rectangles in the classroom, for example, students might identify a window
or the lid of a box. They might also observe that the window is composed of
rectangular panes of glass and that the lid is part of a box with “rectangles on
the sides and bottom”.
Classroom instruction needs to emphasize more than the identification of isolated
examples of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures. Rather,
instruction should help students understand the physical relationships between
shapes and figures when they are combined (composed) or taken apart (decomposed). Experiences in building structures with geometric forms, in arranging
shapes (e.g., pattern blocks, tangram pieces) to create pictures and designs, and
in separating shapes and figures into parts allow students to understand how
shapes and figures can be composed or decomposed to create other shapes and
figures. These experiences allow students to think about how shapes and figures
fit together for functional purposes (e.g., designing a machine) and aesthetic
purposes (e.g., creating a design).
Picture-making by combining shapes is beneficial in promoting student reflection
and discussion about two-dimensional geometry. Young children move through
levels of competence (outlined below) in combining shapes to make composite
shapes (Clements, 2004b). Although approximate ages are provided for each level,
progression through these stages is largely the result of experience. Teachers play
an important role in providing picture-making activities and in demonstrating
to students how shapes can be combined in increasingly complex ways.
Precomposer (approximate age: 3 years). Children use individual shapes to
represent objects or persons but are unable to combine them to compose a larger
shape. For example, children might use three separate shapes to represent the
sun, a slide, and a sandbox.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Piece assembler (approximate age: 4 years). Children combine shapes to make
a picture in which each shape represents a part of an object or person (e.g., a
rhombus is used for a leg). Like the precomposer, the piece assembler perceives
shapes only as wholes and sees few geometric relationships between shapes or
parts of shapes.
Picture maker (approximate age: 5 years). Children combine shapes to
form pictures in which several pieces are used to represent parts of an object
(e.g., three squares for a body). Children use trial and error to create new shapes.
Shape composer (approximate age: 5 years). Children combine shapes intentionally, knowing how shapes will fit together.
Geometric Relationships
27
Substitution composer (approximate age: 6 years). Children form composite
units of shapes and are able to substitute some shapes for others (e.g., six green
triangles for a yellow hexagon when using pattern blocks).
Shape composite repeater (approximate age: 7 years). Children construct a
composite unit of shapes and intentionally repeat the unit.
Relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometry
Opportunities to manipulate, construct, and take apart three-dimensional objects
allow students to see the relationships that exist between three-dimensional
figures and their two-dimensional faces (e.g., a cube is composed of square faces).
When students understand the two-dimensional shapes that are components of
three-dimensional figures, they are able to interpret objects in their environment,
assemble objects of their own, and represent objects in pictures and diagrams.
Sorting three-dimensional figures focuses students’ attention on the twodimensional faces of those figures. In early sorting experiences, using criteria
of their own or criteria suggested by the teacher, students discover that figures
can have parts described as “flat”, “round”, or “curved”. This discovery leads
to an understanding of the faces of three-dimensional figures.
Constructing models of three-dimensional figures, such as prisms and pyramids,
is another valuable learning experience that helps students understand threedimensional figures in terms of their two-dimensional parts. When students
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
build a model using modelling clay, for example, they need to think about the form
of the model – that is, the shapes of its different surfaces. In the later primary
grades, when students use cut-out shapes or commercial building sets, they
need to visualize the specific shapes that are needed to build the model and to
think about the positions of the shapes in the overall structure of the model.
Relationships between categories of two-dimensional shapes
Another important geometric relationship refers to the connections that can be
made between different categories of shapes. In the primary grades, students
learn the properties that define a rectangle, a square, a quadrilateral, and other
geometric shapes. As students’ understanding of these properties develops, they
learn that some categories of shapes are subsets of other categories. For example,
they learn that:
• rectangles are also quadrilaterals because rectangles have four sides;
• squares are also rectangles because squares have four sides and four right
angles;
• rectangles are also parallelograms because rectangles have opposite sides
that are parallel.
Although it is premature to expect students in the primary grades to fully comprehend and explain the relationships between categories of shapes, teachers
need to be careful that they do not classify shapes rigidly and do not communicate misinformation that students will need to “unlearn” later (Clements, 1999;
Copley, 2000). For example, it is inappropriate for a teacher to state, “No, that is
not a rectangle. That is a square.” The grade-by-grade instructional strategies
that follow provide advice on how to help students begin to learn relationships
between categories of shapes.
The diagram on the next page illustrates the relationship between categories
of quadrilaterals. Since opposite sides of parallelograms are parallel, rhombuses,
rectangles, and squares are all, by definition, parallelograms. As well, the diagram
shows that squares are both rhombuses (opposite sides parallel, four congruent
sides) and rectangles (four square corners, opposite sides congruent). This
information is for teachers’ reference and does not represent content
to be learned by students in the primary grades. (Refer to the Glossary
for definitions of the different quadrilaterals in the diagram.)
Geometric Relationships
29
Classification of Quadrilaterals
Quadrilaterals
Four sides
Trapezoids
One pair of parallel sides
Some definitions of a trapezoid
include the idea that the shape
possesses at least one pair
of parallel lines. Under this
definition, parallelograms
are also trapezoids.
Parallelograms
Opposite sides parallel
Rhombuses
Rectangles
Opposite sides parallel
Four congruent sides
Four right angles
Opposite sides congruent
Squares
Four right angles
Four congruent sides
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Congruence
Congruence is a special relationship between two-dimensional shapes that are
the same size and the same shape. An understanding of congruence develops as
students in the early primary grades explore shapes and discover ones that “look
exactly the same”. Students might superimpose congruent shapes to show how
one fits on top of the other. By Grade 3, students should use the term congruent
and should be able to describe congruence relationships by referring to matching
sides and angles of shapes.
Students encounter concepts related to congruence in many areas of geometry.
They observe, for example, that:
• the faces of a three-dimensional figure may be congruent (e.g., the faces of
a cube are congruent squares);
• many geometric patterns, especially tiling patterns, are composed of congruent shapes;
• translations (slides), reflections (flips), or rotations (turns) result in a shape
that is congruent to the original shape.
The concept of congruence can also be applied to three-dimensional geometry.
Three-dimensional figures are congruent if they are identical in form and
dimensions. To verify whether two figures are congruent, students can match
the figures’ faces to determine whether the parts of the figures are the same
size and the same shape.
Characteristics of Student Learning and Instructional
Strategies by Grade
KINDERGARTEN
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Kindergarten:
• compose pictures, designs, shapes, and patterns using two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., paper cut-outs, stickers, pattern blocks). Students use intuition
(“I think I know what will work!”) or trial and error to fit shapes together.
The complexity of their pictures depends on students’ ability to combine
shapes to represent objects in the pictures.
Geometric Relationships
31
For example, some students will create simple pictures in which each shape
represents a part of a picture (e.g., one rhombus represents each leg).
Other students will put two or more shapes together to create parts of a picture
(e.g., two rhombuses represent each leg);
• decompose (take apart physically or visually) simple shapes into smaller
shapes, and describe shapes within a larger shape (e.g., recognize that the
following shape is composed of a square with triangles “around the outside”);
• cover simple outline puzzles with two-dimensional shapes (e.g., pattern blocks,
tangram pieces, attribute blocks) using trial and error. However, students
may not always place shapes properly within the outline;
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• build structures using three-dimensional figures. Students make relationships
between the figures and the objects they represent (e.g., using a rectangular
prism to represent a tower), and apply their understanding of physical attributes
of the figures (e.g., knowing that a pyramid remains in position when placed
on a rectangular prism).
Instructional Strategies
Students in Kindergarten benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing opportunities to create pictures using two-dimensional shapes
(e.g., paper cut-outs, stickers, stamps, pattern blocks). Students who make
simple pictures, in which each shape represents one object, benefit from
viewing and discussing pictures in which shapes are combined to represent
an object;
• providing experiences in creating designs and patterns using two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., pattern blocks), and in discussing how the shapes are put together;
• providing puzzles in which students cover an outline with shapes (e.g., pattern
blocks, tangram pieces, attribute blocks). Teachers can demonstrate how to
choose and place shapes to match the puzzle outlines and how shapes can
be turned or flipped to make them fit the puzzle;
• discussing how smaller shapes have been put together to make larger shapes
(e.g., smaller triangles to make a larger triangle) and how larger shapes have
been taken apart to make smaller shapes;
• having them respond to “What do you see?” activities. Teachers show a simple
design (e.g., the shape shown below) for a few seconds and then ask students
to describe or draw what they saw;
• providing opportunities to build structures using materials (e.g., building
blocks, construction sets) and to discuss the two-dimensional shapes and
three-dimensional figures in the structures.
Geometric Relationships
33
GRADE 1
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 1:
• compose pictures using two-dimensional shapes (e.g., paper cut-outs, stickers,
pattern blocks). Most students put several shapes together to make one part
of the picture (e.g., triangles and rectangles to make a roof);
• compose designs and patterns using two-dimensional shapes (e.g., pattern
blocks). Students consider side lengths and angles to determine how the
shapes fit together (e.g., combining triangles and hexagons to make a pattern
with rhombuses);
• compose a larger shape using smaller shapes (e.g., using smaller triangles to
make a larger triangle);
• Describe relationships of shapes within a larger shape. For example, students
might describe the following shape as composed of two squares with triangles
“around the outside”. Some students may observe that the two squares form
a rectangle;
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• decompose two-dimensional shapes into other two-dimensional shapes
(e.g., cut a rectangle into two triangles);
• cover outline puzzles, in which only the contour of each puzzle is given,
with two-dimensional shapes (e.g., pattern blocks, tangram pieces, attribute
blocks). Students use trial and error or intuition (anticipating that a shape
will fit a space) to complete the puzzles;
• build structures using three-dimensional figures and describe the twodimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structures.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 1 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing opportunities to create pictures using two-dimensional shapes
(e.g., paper cut-outs, stickers, pattern blocks);
• providing experiences in creating designs and patterns using two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., pattern blocks), and in discussing how the shapes are put together;
• providing puzzles in which students cover an outline with shapes (e.g., pattern
blocks, tangram pieces, attribute blocks) without leaving gaps;
• having them respond to “What do you see?” activities. Teachers show a
simple design (e.g., the shape shown below) for a few seconds and then
ask students to describe or draw what they saw;
Geometric Relationships
35
• discussing how smaller shapes have been put together to make larger shapes
and how larger shapes have been taken apart to make smaller shapes;
• providing experiences in composing larger shapes by putting together smaller
shapes (e.g., using pattern blocks to make a hexagon in different ways);
• providing opportunities to compose shapes on a computer (e.g., using the
drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• providing opportunities to build structures using materials (e.g., cardboard
containers, building blocks, construction sets), and to discuss the twodimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structure.
GRADE 2
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 2:
• begin to explain relationships between different categories of shapes
(e.g., rectangles and quadrilaterals; squares and rectangles);
• compose geometric pictures and designs using two-dimensional shapes.
Most students combine shapes intentionally, knowing how sides and angles
of shapes fit together;
• compose patterns in which units (shapes made from other shapes) are
repeated (e.g., repeated units made from hexagons and triangles);
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• compose a larger shape using smaller shapes (e.g., using smaller triangles to
make a larger triangle; using a square and four triangles to make an octagon);
• decompose (take apart physically or visually) shapes flexibly. In the following
example, a triangle, a rectangle, a square, and other shapes can be found in
the same hexagonal shape;
Hexagon
Triangle
Rectangle
Square
• decompose two-dimensional shapes into other two-dimensional shapes
(e.g., cut a rectangle to make two triangles; a square and a rectangle;
or a triangle and a trapezoid);
• cover outline puzzles, in which only the contour of each puzzle is given,
with two-dimensional shapes (e.g., pattern blocks, tangram pieces, attribute
blocks). Students use trial and error or intuition (anticipating that a shape
will fit a space) to complete the puzzles;
Geometric Relationships
37
• recognize congruent shapes, and verify congruence by superimposing shapes
(e.g., the two pentagons shown);
• build structures using three-dimensional figures, and describe the twodimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structures;
• construct models of three-dimensional figures, and describe their twodimensional faces.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 2 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• discussing and demonstrating relationships among quadrilaterals, rectangles,
and squares (e.g., a rectangle is a quadrilateral because a rectangle
has four sides; a square is a rectangle because a square has four sides and
four square corners);
• providing experiences in creating pictures and designs using two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., pattern blocks, paper cut-outs, stickers);
• providing opportunities to create patterns using two-dimensional shapes
(e.g., pattern blocks), including patterns in which units (shapes composed
of other shapes) are repeated (e.g., repeated units made from hexagons
and squares);
• providing experiences in composing larger shapes by putting together smaller
shapes (e.g., using pattern blocks to make a hexagon in different ways);
38
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• having them respond to “What do you see?” activities. Teachers show a
simple design (e.g., the shape shown below) for a few seconds and then
ask students to describe or draw what they saw;
• providing opportunities to compose shapes on a computer (e.g., using the
drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• providing experiences in decomposing two-dimensional shapes into other
shapes (e.g., decomposing a rectangle into two triangles; decomposing a
square into two rectangles);
• providing puzzles in which students cover an outline with shapes (e.g., pattern
blocks, tangram pieces, attribute blocks);
• providing opportunities to build structures using materials (e.g., cardboard
containers, building blocks, construction sets) and to discuss two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structures;
• providing opportunities to construct models of three-dimensional figures
using materials (e.g., modelling clay, cardboard cut-outs, drinking straws,
pipe cleaners) and to describe the two-dimensional faces of the figures.
Geometric Relationships
39
GRADE 3
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 3:
• explain relationships between different categories of shapes (e.g., rectangles
and quadrilaterals; squares and rectangles);
• compose pictures and designs using two-dimensional shapes. Most students
combine shapes intentionally, knowing how sides and angles of shapes fit
together;
• compose patterns in which units (shapes made from other shapes) are repeated
(e.g., repeated units made from hexagons, squares, and triangles);
• compose shapes using other shapes (e.g., compose a rhombus using triangles);
• decompose shapes flexibly to create other shapes (e.g., cut apart regular
hexagons to make such shapes as a triangle and a pentagon; two trapezoids;
and a rhombus and a hexagon);
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• cover outline puzzles in different ways (e.g., complete the same outline
puzzle using the greatest number of pattern blocks and the smallest number
of pattern blocks);
• recognize congruent two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures.
Students verify the congruence of two-dimensional shapes by matching sides
and angles or by superimposing shapes. Students show that three-dimensional
figures are congruent by matching parts of the figures;
• compose and decompose three-dimensional figures, and identify the twodimensional faces of the figures;
• describe the two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures in a
structure;
• describe the two-dimensional faces of three-dimensional figures.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 3 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• discussing and demonstrating relationships among quadrilaterals, rectangles,
and squares (e.g., a rectangle is a quadrilateral because a rectangle has four
sides; a square is a rectangle because a square has four sides and four square
vertices/corners);
• providing opportunities to create designs and patterns using two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., pattern blocks), including patterns in which units (shapes composed of other shapes) are repeated;
• providing experiences in decomposing two-dimensional shapes to make other
shapes (e.g., decomposing a triangle into two triangles or into a triangle and
a trapezoid);
Geometric Relationships
41
• providing experiences in composing shapes by putting together other shapes
(e.g., using pattern blocks to make parallelograms in different ways);
• providing opportunities to compose shapes on a computer (e.g., using the
drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• providing puzzles in which students cover an outline with different combinations of shapes;
• providing opportunities to build structures using materials (e.g., cardboard
containers, building blocks, construction sets) and to discuss two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structures;
• providing experiences in composing and decomposing three-dimensional
figures (e.g., using cardboard cut-outs, construction sets) and in describing
the faces and surfaces of three-dimensional figures;
• providing opportunities to construct rectangular prisms from nets;
• having them identify congruent two-dimensional shapes and show congruence
by matching sides and angles or superimposing shapes;
• having them identify congruent three-dimensional figures and show congruence
by matching parts of the figures.
42
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Location and Movement
Overview
Through everyday activities, preschool children learn to describe their positions
relative to objects or other people. Such terms as on, below, beside, under, and
next to allow them to express these spatial relationships. Children also develop
language that expresses how a person or object moves to another location
(e.g., towards, away from, back and forth, backwards).
In the primary grades, teachers encourage students to continue to use spatial
language to describe their own location and movement, as well as the locations
and movements of other persons or objects. Teachers also show students how to
represent locations and movements on rectangular grids. Students’ understanding
of movement is further developed as they learn about transformations: translations
(slides), rotations (turns), and reflections (flips).
The following are key points that can be made about location and movement in
the primary years:
• The location of an object can be described in terms of its spatial relationship
to another object or in terms of its position on a grid.
• Transformational geometry involves translations (slides), reflections (flips),
and rotations (turns).
• Symmetry can be used to analyse and create shapes in which one half is a
reflection of the other.
Location
From an early age, children perceive the spatial relationships among themselves,
other people, and objects, and develop language to describe these spatial relationships. Generally, students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 observe the spatial
relationships of objects in their environment well enough to create simple
concrete maps of familiar places (Clements, 1999). For example, students might
create a concrete map of their classroom by using blocks to represent furniture
and placing the blocks in positions that match the arrangement of furniture in
43
the classroom. The creation and observation of concrete maps help students to
develop concepts about paper maps, including the notion that pictures and symbols
on a map represent actual objects. In Grade 2, students describe the location of
objects on a grid using such expressions as “beside” and “to the right of”.
Movement
Transformational geometry in the primary grades involves three types of
movement: translations (slides), rotations (turns), and reflections (flips). Young
children learn to perform these movements through play activities (e.g., sliding
a toy across the floor, flipping cards to see what is on the other side, turning an
object to make it fit inside a box). Learning activities at school help students to
understand the nature of these movements so that they can be used intentionally
to solve problems.
In Kindergarten and Grade 1, students learn to follow directions to move an
object in relation to another object. Students use and hear such words as “slide”,
“flip”, and “turn” to describe movements; however, the study of these movements
is not formalized.
In Grades 2 and 3, learning activities with manipulatives and computer programs
focus on the nature of the three movements and how they can be performed.
Although teachers model, and encourage students to use, geometric terminology
(translation, reflection, rotation) to describe movement, students may continue
to use more informal expressions (slide, flip, turn). Students develop an understanding of the following concepts:
• A translation involves movement in a straight line across a surface; the orientation of the shape does not change – it always “faces the same direction”.
• A reflection involves a flip over a line. A reflection results in a shape that is
the mirror image of the original shape.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• A rotation involves turning a shape around a point.
Effective instructional activities involve students in using transformations to
solve spatial problems and in communicating the movements they performed.
Students’ descriptions of these movements become more precise as they learn
to specify the directions of translations (up, down, to the left, to the right), the
direction of rotations (clockwise, counterclockwise), and the degree of rotations
(quarter turn, half turn, three-quarter turn, full turn).
Symmetry
A shape has line symmetry if it can be divided into two congruent parts, each
part a reflection of the other. A line that separates one mirror image from the
other is called a line of symmetry.
Line of Symmetry
Some shapes have more than one line of symmetry. A square, for instance, has
four lines of symmetry.
Location and Movement
45
There are numerous examples of symmetry in the environment – in nature
(e.g., leaves, butterflies, snowflakes), art, architecture, and the objects people use
in their daily lives. The abundance of symmetry in the world makes it of natural
interest to students. Instructional experiences should help students recognize,
analyse, and describe symmetrical shapes, and develop an appreciation of the
beauty and order that symmetry brings to our world.
In Grade 1, students explore symmetry by locating and describing symmetrical
shapes in the environment. They create symmetrical designs and pictures using
a variety of tools (e.g., pattern blocks, drawings on paper, colour tiles).
In Grade 2, students analyse symmetry by locating the line of symmetry in a
two-dimensional shape. They use methods, such as paper folding and placing
a transparent mirror (a Mira) on a symmetrical shape, to determine whether
one half of the shape is the mirror image of the other half. This understanding
of symmetry is extended in Grade 3, when students complete symmetrical
designs and pictures given half of the image on one side of a vertical, horizontal,
or diagonal line of symmetry. For example, students might be asked to complete
a symmetrical design by placing pattern blocks on one side of the following
line of symmetry.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Characteristics of Student Learning and Instructional
Strategies by Grade
KINDERGARTEN
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Kindergarten:
• describe spatial relationships using positional language (e.g., “My snack is
in my backpack” or “I jumped over the puddle”);
• describe, using words and expressions (e.g., towards, backwards, back and
forth, away from), how a person or an object moves from one position to
another;
• describe the path from one location to another (e.g., from the classroom to
the gym);
• learn to print numerals and letters and draw shapes by following a sequence
of oral directions (e.g., “Make a d. Draw a straight line. Then draw a circle
on this side of the line at the bottom”).
Instructional Strategies
Students in Kindergarten benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• having them act out stories that involve position and movement words
(e.g., Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel);
• providing instructions (e.g., classroom routines) involving positional language
(e.g., “Remember to place your boots against the wall and not in the middle of
the hallway”);
• asking them to describe the relative position of objects and people (e.g., “The
chairs are beside the table”);
• having them explain how to get from one location to another;
• giving directions on how to print numerals and letters and draw simple
shapes;
• using games involving position and movement (e.g., Simon Says);
• providing puzzles in which students need to manipulate pieces to fit them
into frames;
• providing opportunities to build with blocks and to describe what they did
using positional language;
• providing puzzles in which students cover simple outlines with shapes
(e.g., pattern blocks, tangram pieces, attribute blocks).
Location and Movement
47
GRADE 1
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 1:
• describe spatial relationships using positional language (e.g., “We could put
the paper scraps that are in front of the door into a garbage bag”);
• describe how a person or an object moves from one position to another using
such words and expressions as towards, backwards, back and forth, away from;
• follow directions to move or place another object in relation to another
object (e.g., “Put your pencil beside your book”);
• describe the path to go from one place to another (e.g., from the classroom
to the gym);
• print numerals and letters and draw shapes by following a sequence of oral
directions;
• learn left and right;
• recognize symmetry in the environment, especially examples of vertical
symmetry;
Vertical Symmetry
Non-vertical Symmetry
• create symmetrical shapes using concrete materials and drawings;
• create concrete maps of familiar settings (e.g., the classroom, student’s
bedroom) using small objects to represent larger objects (e.g., small cubes
to represent desks).
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 1 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• providing instructions (e.g., classroom routines) involving positional language
(e.g., “Empty cubes from the container onto your desk”);
• asking them to describe the relative positions of objects and people
(e.g., “The books are on the shelf that is next to the closet”);
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• asking them to explain how to get from one location to another;
• giving oral directions on how to print numerals and letters and draw
simple shapes;
• using games involving position and movement (e.g., Simon Says);
• providing puzzles in which students manipulate pieces to fit them into
frames;
• providing puzzles in which students cover simple outlines with shapes
(e.g., pattern blocks, tangram pieces, attribute blocks);
• having them locate and discuss examples of symmetry in the environment;
• providing opportunities to create symmetrical designs and pictures;
• providing opportunities to create simple physical maps of familiar places
(e.g., making a concrete map of the classroom by using small objects,
such as cubes or tiles, to represent furniture).
GRADE 2
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 2:
• perform translations, reflections, and rotations using concrete materials and
computer programs. Students may be able to visualize the effect of a translation
before performing it physically or virtually but may be unable to predict the
result of a reflection or rotation;
• create patterns using two-dimensional shapes (e.g., pattern blocks), and
describe what they did using positional language (e.g., “I placed a green
triangle above each orange square”);
• draw and construct shapes from oral directions;
• recognize symmetry in the environment, including examples of non-vertical
symmetry;
Vertical Symmetry
Non-vertical Symmetry
Location and Movement
49
• create symmetrical shapes using concrete materials and drawings;
• determine lines of symmetry for two-dimensional shapes. Students readily
recognize vertical lines of symmetry but may have difficulty recognizing
non-vertical lines of symmetry;
• describe the specific locations of objects on a grid or map (e.g., beside, to the
right of);
• draw simple maps of familiar settings.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 2 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• giving directions on how to draw or construct simple shapes;
• using games involving position and movement (e.g., Simon Says);
• providing puzzles in which students cover simple outlines with shapes
(e.g., pattern blocks, tangram pieces, attribute blocks);
• having them locate and discuss examples of symmetry in the environment,
including shapes with non-vertical symmetry and shapes with more than
one line of symmetry;
• providing opportunities to create symmetrical designs and pictures;
• having them find the line of symmetry of simple shapes by using paper folding
and reflections in a transparent mirror (a Mira);
• using games that involve describing the location of objects on grids and maps
(e.g., finding a hidden treasure on a map by asking such questions as “Is the
treasure in the top left corner?” and “Is the treasure beside the pond?”);
• providing opportunities to perform translations, reflections, and rotations of
simple figures using concrete materials and computer programs (e.g., the
drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• having them identify and describe translations (to the left, to the right, up,
down);
• providing opportunities to draw simple maps of familiar settings (e.g., the
classroom, the student’s bedroom);
• providing opportunities to describe the locations of objects on a grid or map
(e.g., “The pet store is to the right of the park”).
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
GRADE 3
Characteristics of Student Learning
In general, students in Grade 3:
• perform translations, reflections, and rotations using concrete materials and
computer programs. Students may be able to visualize the effect of a translation before performing it physically or virtually but may have more difficulty
predicting the result of a reflection or rotation;
• create and analyse patterns using two-dimensional shapes (e.g., pattern
blocks), and describe how translations, reflections, and rotations are used
in the patterns;
• draw and construct shapes from verbal directions;
• recognize symmetry in the environment, including examples of non-vertical
(horizontal and diagonal) symmetry;
Vertical Symmetry
Horizontal Symmetry
Diagonal Symmetry
• create symmetrical shapes using concrete materials and drawings;
• determine lines of symmetry for two-dimensional shapes;
• solve two-dimensional geometric puzzles (e.g., with pattern blocks, tangram
pieces);
• describe how to get from one location to another on a grid (e.g., two squares
right followed by two squares up);
• draw simple maps, and describe the locations of objects on maps.
Instructional Strategies
Students in Grade 3 benefit from the following instructional strategies:
• giving directions on how to draw or construct simple shapes;
• providing opportunities to solve geometric puzzles (e.g., creating a square
with tangram pieces) and to describe what they did using geometric language;
Location and Movement
51
• having them locate and discuss examples of symmetry in the environment,
including shapes with vertical, horizontal, and diagonal symmetry and
shapes with more than one line of symmetry;
• providing opportunities to create symmetrical designs and pictures;
• having them find the lines of symmetry of simple shapes by using paper
folding and reflections in a transparent mirror (a Mira);
• providing opportunities to perform translations, reflections, and rotations of
simple figures using concrete materials and computer programs (e.g., the
drawing tools in KidPix or AppleWorks/ClarisWorks);
• providing opportunities to perform and describe rotations (e.g., quarter turn,
half turn, three-quarter turn, full turn);
• having them identify the movement (translation, reflection, rotation) that
was performed on a shape to move it from one position to another;
• asking them to predict the outcome of translations, reflections, and rotations
on two-dimensional shapes;
• providing problems using maps and grids, including how to get from one
location to another on a grid (e.g., two squares right then two squares up)
and describing the specific locations of objects;
• providing opportunities to draw simple maps of familiar settings
(e.g., classroom).
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
References
Baroody, A.J. (1998). Fostering children’s mathematical power: An investigative
approach to K–8 mathematics instruction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates.
Clements, D.H. (1999). Geometric and spatial thinking in young children.
In J.V. Copley (Ed.), Mathematics in the early years (pp. 66–79). Reston,
VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Clements, D.H. (2004a). Geometric and spatial thinking in early childhood
education. In D.H. Clements, J. Samara, & A. DiBiase (Eds.), Engaging young
children in mathematics: Standards for early childhood mathematics education.
(pp. 267–297). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Clements, D.H. (2004b). Major themes and recommendations. In D.H. Clements,
J. Samara, & A. DiBiase (Eds.), Engaging young children in mathematics:
Standards for early childhood mathematics education (pp. 7–72). Mahwah,
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Clements, D.H., Swaminathan, S., Hannibal, M.A.Z., & Sarama, J. (1999, March).
Young children’s concepts of shape. Journal for Research in Mathematics
Education, 30(2), 192–212.
Copley, J.V. (2000). The young child and mathematics. Washington, DC: National
Association for the Education of Young Children.
Expert Panel on Early Math in Ontario. (2003). Early math strategy: The report of the
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Hannibal, M.A.Z. (1999, February). Young children’s developing understanding
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Haylock, D., & Cockburn, A. (1997). Understanding mathematics in the lower
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Kilpatrick, J., Swafford, J., & Findell, B. (Eds.). (2001). Adding it up: Helping
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Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics. Mahwah, NJ:
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National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards
for school mathematics. Reston,VA: Author.
Ontario Ministry of Education and Training. (1998). The Kindergarten program.
Toronto: Author.
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2005a). A guide to effective instruction in
mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 6, 2005. Toronto: Author.
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2005b). The Ontario curriculum, Grades 1–8:
Mathematics, 2005. Toronto: Author.
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2005c). The Ontario curriculum, Grades 9 and 10:
Mathematics, 2005. Toronto: Author.
Van de Walle, J.A. (2004). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching
developmentally (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
van Hiele, P.M. (1959/1985). The child’s thought and geometry. In D. Fuys,
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Learning Activities for
Geometry and Spatial Sense
Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Introduction
The following four appendices (Appendices A to D) include learning activities
that are practical applications of the big ideas in Geometry and Spatial Sense for
Kindergarten through Grade 3, respectively. For each grade, four activities are
included to address the three big ideas. The first big idea has two activities: one
dealing with two-dimensional shapes and one dealing with three-dimensional
figures. Thus, the activities for each grade address properties of two-dimensional
shapes, properties of three-dimensional figures, geometric relationships, and
location and movement. The learning activities do not address all the key concepts for each big idea. The activities provide a starting point for classroom
instruction related to the big ideas; however, students need multiple experiences
throughout the school year to build an understanding of each big idea.
Each learning activity is organized as follows:
• CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS: The curriculum expectations are indicated for
each learning activity.
• MATERIALS: A materials list is included. Materials for optional parts of a
learning activity are tagged as optional. The list applies only to the learning
activity, not to the learning connections.
• ABOUT THE MATH: Background mathematical information that connects
the learning activity to the big idea is provided. In some instances, reference
is made to some of the important prior learning that should precede the activity.
• GETTING STARTED: This section provides the context for the learning activity,
activates prior knowledge, and introduces the problem or task.
• WORKING ON IT: In this part, students work on a mathematical task, often
in small groups or with a partner. The teacher interacts with students by
providing prompts and asking questions.
• REFLECTING AND CONNECTING: This section usually includes a whole-class
debriefing time that allows students to share strategies and the teacher to
emphasize mathematical concepts.
57
• ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS: These are suggestions for ways to meet the
needs of all learners in the classroom.
• MATH LANGUAGE: Vocabulary that is important to the learning activity
and to the concepts presented is included under this heading.
• ASSESSMENT: This section provides guidance to teachers on assessing
students’ understanding of mathematical concepts related to the big ideas.
• HOME CONNECTION: This section is addressed to parents or guardians
and includes a task connected to the mathematical focus of the learning
activity for students to do at home.
• LEARNING CONNECTIONS: These are suggestions for follow-up activities
that either consolidate the mathematical focus of the lesson or build on other
key concepts for the big idea.
• BLACKLINE MASTERS: These pages are referred to and used throughout
the activities.
A Special Note About Kindergarten
The Kindergarten years represent a two-year continuum for those children who
attend both Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten. In many classrooms,
Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten students work together in multi-age
groups. Therefore, it is important to assess and consider students’ levels of
development of early mathematical understandings before planning any
math activities. Many of the Geometry and Spatial Sense learning activities
are multilevel and can be used with both age groups. In some cases, suggestions
are made for adapting an activity for younger students.
Often, teachers in a multi-age classroom have the Senior Kindergarten students
complete a small-group or independent follow-up activity after a modelling or
demonstration is done for the whole class. When invited, many Junior Kindergarten
students will join in the activity, even though they are not required to participate.
This willingness to learn can give teachers a greater understanding of a student’s
level of mathematical knowledge and skills. Although teachers will have different
expectations of younger students, sometimes the level of understanding that
Junior Kindergarten students demonstrate surprises teachers. Providing instruction
that meets the unique needs of each student helps to support further learning.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
A.
Appendix Contents
Kindergarten
Learning Activities
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Getting in Shape . . . . . . . . . . 61
Blackline masters: Prop2DK.BLM1 – Prop2DK.BLM5
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: What’s in the Bag? . . . . . . . . 69
Blackline masters: Prop3DK.BLM1 – Prop2DK.BLM2
Geometric Relationships: The Shape of Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Blackline masters: GeoRelK.BLM1 – GeoRelK.BLM3
Location and Movement: Over, Under, Here, and There . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Blackline masters: LocK.BLM1 – LocK.BLM2
Kindergarten Learning Activity: Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
BIG IDEA
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS*
Students will:
• identify the characteristics of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
objects;
• identify and sort two-dimensional shapes (e.g., circle, square, rectangle,
triangle).
MATERIALS
– 1 square, rectangle, triangle, and circle large enough for a student to walk on the
perimeter (1 of each shape; use large cut-outs from mural paper, or make shape
outlines by sticking masking tape to the floor)
– 1 paper triangle (it must be smaller than the one listed above)
– resealable plastic bags, each containing 5 shapes from Prop2DK.BLM1a–b:
Two-Dimensional Shapes (or similar shapes); each bag must contain at least
1 triangle (1 bag per student)
– materials for making shapes (e.g., pipe cleaners, finger paint, modelling clay)
– Prop2DK.BLM2: Back to the Drawing Board (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Students entering Kindergarten bring with them an informal and intuitive understanding
of shape. For example, by age 3, most children can identify circles, squares, and
rectangles in their environment. In Kindergarten, students continue to explore
two-dimensional shapes and develop an understanding of what it means when a shape
is described as being a circle, square, rectangle, or triangle.
Through activities in which students sort, construct, and manipulate two-dimensional shapes,
they learn to recognize, analyse, and describe shapes. At this stage in their development,
students are neither expected to memorize definitions of the shapes, nor required to
identify the shapes by their properties. However, activities that focus students’ attention
informally on the geometric features of two–dimensional shapes prompt them to think about
the characteristics that make a circle a circle, or a square a square. In the tasks in this
learning activity, Kindergarten students should observe and explore both traditional and
non-traditional shapes, including examples of circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Getting in Shape
* The source of the curriculum expectations for Kindergarten is The Kindergarten Program, 1998
(Toronto: Ministry of Education and Training, 1998), pp. 16–17.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
61
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Traditional Shapes
Non-traditional Shapes
Note: When discussing rectangles, include squares as examples of rectangles. Explain to
students that a square is a rectangle because it has four sides and four square corners
but that a square is a special kind of rectangle because all four sides are the same
length. By referring to squares as “square rectangles”, you avoid having students
believe that squares and rectangles are two distinct and unrelated categories of
shapes. Although it is premature to expect students to explain the relationship between
rectangles and squares, avoid giving misinformation. Do not, for example, tell students
that a square isn’t a rectangle.
GETTING STARTED
Gather students around the large square, rectangle, triangle, and circle on the floor. Ask
a student to walk along one side of the square. When the student reaches a corner, point
out that he or she needs to turn and change directions in order to walk on the next side
of the square. After the student has finished walking on the perimeter of the square,
ask students to tell the number of sides and corners on the square.
Ask other students to walk on the perimeter of the large rectangle and triangle. Discuss
the number of sides and corners on these shapes.
Finally, have a student walk on the perimeter of the circle. Discuss how the circle is
different from the other shapes (i.e., the circle has no straight sides and no corners).
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• “What is the name of this shape?”
• “How do you know?”
• “What shape on the floor matches this triangle? Why?”
Place the paper triangle inside the triangle shape on the floor.
Next, provide each student with a resealable plastic bag containing five shapes from
Prop2DK.BLM1a-b: Two-Dimensional Shapes. Include at least one triangle in each bag.
Have students place their shapes on the floor in front of them. Invite them to find a
triangle among their shapes and to set it on the matching shape on the floor.
Ask students to sort all their shapes by placing them on the large floor models. Some
students may sort their shapes incorrectly. After students have sorted their shapes,
ask if they all agree with the way in which the shapes are sorted. Encourage students
to explain how they would sort the shapes differently.
When the shapes are sorted correctly, point to the large square on the floor that
contains the sorted shapes, and ask, “How are all these shapes the same?” Continue
by discussing the other groups of shapes.
WORKING ON IT
Provide the following tasks to reinforce and extend students’ understanding of
two-dimensional shapes.
As students work on the tasks, ask questions, such as the following:
• “What shape is this? How do you know?”
• “How are these two triangles (squares, rectangles, circles) the same? How are they
different?”
Task 1: Back Shapes
Have students use their finger to draw a shape on a partner’s back. Ask the partner to
guess the shape. Then, have students switch roles so that each partner gets to draw
on the other’s back.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Show a large paper triangle, and ask students:
63
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Task 2: Body Shapes
Tell students that they will form shapes by using their bodies. Ask, ”How many bodies will
you need to create a triangle? Why will you need that many bodies?”
When students have determined the number of bodies needed to form a triangle, divide
the class into groups of three and have the groups create the shape.
Have groups present their triangles to the class. Ask each group, “What did the three of
you need to do to make a triangle with your bodies? Can the three of you work together
to make a triangle in a different way?”
Repeat the task for a rectangle, a square, and a circle.
Task 3: Creating Shapes
Ask students to create circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles by using a variety of
materials (e.g., pipe cleaners, finger paint, modelling clay). Allow students to display their
creations.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Gather students and have them share the shapes they created during Task 3. Ask
questions, such as the following:
• “How did you make your shape?”
• “How could you make it in a different way?”
Select two shapes (e.g., a triangle and a square) and ask students, “What is the same
about these two shapes? What is different?”
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty identifying a particular shape. Provide these students
with several examples of the shape and ask them to trace the perimeter of each shape
with a finger. Have them count the number of sides aloud as they trace.
Some students may not be ready to sort shapes independently. Have these students work
with a partner. Encourage students to explain to their partner how they are sorting the shapes.
Challenge students to cut out non-traditional triangles (rectangles, squares) from paper.
Ask students to justify why their shapes are triangles (rectangles, squares).
64
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
shape
triangle
square
rectangle
circle
side
corner
straight
curved
round
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to determine how well they can identify and sort shapes. Are they able
to explain how:
• they identify a shape?
• they sort shapes?
• they create a specific shape?
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop2DK.BLM2: Back to the Drawing Board. This Home Connection letter
explains a task that parents/guardians can do with their children to reinforce their
children’s understanding of two-dimensional shapes.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Shape Hunt
Materials
– The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds
– Prop2DK.BLM3: Shape Hunt (1 per pair of students)
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
MATH LANGUAGE
Read a book to the class that encourages students to see the shapes in everyday objects,
such as The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds (Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1996).
Talk about the different shapes that students discover in the book.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
65
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
66
Next, invite students to work with a partner to hunt for two-dimensional shapes in the
classroom or elsewhere in the school. Provide each pair of students with a copy of
Prop2DK.BLM3: Shape Hunt. Ask students to draw the shapes they find.
Following the shape hunt, ask:
• “What shapes did you find?”
• “Which shapes were easy to find?”
• “Which shapes were difficult to find?”
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Shape Pokey
Materials
– Prop2DK.BLM4a–e: Shape Pokey Cards (1 card per student)
Arrange students in a circle. Give each student a Shape Pokey card.
Sing the following song to the tune of “Hokey Pokey”:
“You put your triangle in. You put your triangle out. You put your triangle in, and you
shake it all about.”
(Students who have a triangle card hold out their card in front of them, towards the
middle of the circle, or jump into the circle. Following the words of the song, they then
pull the card close to them, or jump back out of the circle. Finally, they shake the card
or shake themselves.)
“You do the shape pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about. HEY!
“You do the sha-a-a-pe pokey. You do the sha-a-a-pe pokey. You do the sha-a-a-pe pokey,
and that’s what it’s all about.”
Repeat the stanza, changing the shape each time.
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Just Like Me in 2-D
Material
– Prop2DK.BLM5a-b: Shape Cards (1 card per student)
Have students sit in a circle. Provide each student with a shape card.
How to Play
1. Be the leader for the first few rounds. Announce to the group, “I am a triangle” or
“My shape has 3 sides”.
2. Tell students to stand if they have a card that matches the leader’s statement and
to exclaim, “Just like me!”
3. After a few rounds, ask students to take the role of the leader.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Shape Concentration
Materials
– Prop2DK.BLM5a-b: Shape Cards (2 sets of cards per pair of students; 1 set of cards
includes both Prop2DK.BLM5a and Prop2DK.BLM5b)
Have students work in pairs. Ask students to combine all their shape cards, shuffle them,
and spread them out, face down, in front of them.
Explain that students will take turns flipping over two cards to try to find a pair of
matching shapes. Have students turn over one card at a time. Tell students that they
must match two cards with the same kind of shape (e.g., a small circle and a large circle)
but that the shapes will not be identical. Explain that when a student finds a match, he
or she keeps the two cards. If the cards don’t match, tell the student to turn the cards
back over in the same place. The game ends when all the cards have been matched.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
67
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2DK.BLM1a
Two-Dimensional Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2DK.BLM1b
Two-Dimensional Shapes
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about two-dimensional shapes.
Try this activity with your child. Imagine that your backs are drawing
boards. Take turns using a finger to draw shapes on each other’s
backs. Try to guess the shape that the other person is drawing.
Here are some shapes that you can draw on the other person’s back:
Rectangle
Circle
Square
Triangles
Talk about what the different shapes feel like. Do they have straight
sides or curved sides? Do they have corners?
After drawing a shape on the other person’s back, draw the same
shape on paper. Talk about what the shape looks like.
Make unusual shapes on your child’s back and challenge him or her to
draw the same shape on paper.
Have fun drawing and guessing shapes.
Prop2DK.BLM2
Back to the Drawing Board
We saw
We saw
We saw
We saw
Prop2DK.BLM3
Shape Hunt
Prop2DK.BLM4a
Shape Pokey Cards – Square
Prop2DK.BLM4b
Shape Pokey Cards – Circle
Prop2DK.BLM4c
Shape Pokey Cards – Rectangle
Prop2DK.BLM4d
Shape Pokey Cards – Triangle 1
Prop2DK.BLM4e
Shape Pokey Cards – Triangle 2
Prop2DK.BLM5a
Shape Cards
Triangle
Square
Rectangle
Square
Circle
Triangle
Prop2DK.BLM5b
Shape Cards
Circle
Square
Rectangle
Triangle
Square
Triangle
Kindergarten Learning Activity: Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
BIG IDEA
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS*
Students will:
• identify the characteristics of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
objects;
• identify, describe, and sort three-dimensional objects (e.g., cans, blocks,
balls, cones).
MATERIALS
– sets of three-dimensional figures (either commercially produced or found items):
sphere, cube, cone, and cylinder (1 set per student, 1 set to display)
– Feely Bags: paper or cloth bags containing a sphere, cube, cone, and cylinder
(1 bag per group of 3 students)
– Prop3DK.BLM1: What’s in the Bag? Game Board (1 per student)
– counters (8 per student)
– Prop3DK.BLM2: Figure Detective (1 per student )
ABOUT THE MATH
As students manipulate three-dimensional figures, they make connections between
what they are touching and the characteristics of the figures (e.g., flat faces, curved
surfaces, corners). By matching three-dimensional figures to pictures, students begin
to understand the relationships between three-dimensional figures and their twodimensional faces.
Throughout the tasks in this learning activity, students develop their geometric
vocabulary as they name and describe three-dimensional figures. Model the appropriate
geometric language to help students learn the correct terminology. When students use
inaccurate or informal language to express geometric ideas, acknowledge students’
thoughts and simply restate the ideas, modelling the appropriate language. For example,
if a student calls a sphere a ball, respond by saying, “Yes, a sphere does look and feel
like a ball.”
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
What’s in the Bag?
* The source of the curriculum expectations for Kindergarten is The Kindergarten Program, 1998
(Toronto: Ministry of Education and Training, 1998), pp. 16–17.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
69
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
The following tasks provide students with hands-on experiences in exploring and describing
three-dimensional figures. These opportunities help students begin to understand the
properties of three-dimensional figures; however, Kindergarten students are not
expected to define three-dimensional figures according to their properties.
GETTING STARTED
Provide time for students to explore a variety of three-dimensional figures (either
commercially produced or found items). After students have had time to play with the
manipulatives, they will be able to use the materials as learning tools and focus on
mathematical concepts rather than on the materials themselves.
Display a set of three-dimensional figures: a sphere, cube, cone, and cylinder. Show
students a Feely Bag and explain that the bag contains a figure that matches one of the
figures on display. Reach into the bag. Without removing the figure, describe what you
feel. For example, you can say, “I feel a figure that has flat faces. It has eight corners.
All the edges are straight.” Ask students to point to the figure on display that matches
the figure you described. Remove the figure from the bag and place it beside its match.
Ask students to explain why the two figures match.
Without students watching, place a different figure into the Feely Bag. Ask a student to
feel and describe the figure in the bag. Have the other students point to its match.
If students have difficulty describing the figure in the bag, prompt them by asking
questions, such as:
• “Do you feel a corner?”
• “How many corners do you feel?”
• “Do you feel any flat faces?”
• “Are there any round faces?”
• “Are there any curved edges?”
• “Are there any straight edges?”
WORKING ON IT
Divide students into groups of three. Provide each group with a Feely Bag containing a
sphere, cube, cone, and cylinder. Give each student a copy of Prop3DK.BLM1: What’s in
the Bag? Game Board.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• Each player, in turn, reaches into the Feely Bag, selects a figure, and describes it
while it is still in the bag.
• The player removes the figure from the Feely Bag and places a counter on a matching
picture of the figure on his or her game board.
• The player puts the figure back into the Feely Bag, and the next player takes a turn.
• Players return a shape to the Feely Bag if the shape they remove already has counters
on both matching pictures.
• The game continues until one player has placed a counter on all eight sections of his or
her game board.
Choosing and describing each figure twice reinforces what students know about the figure.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Following the What’s in the Bag? game, hold up a cylinder and ask students to explain how
they described it when it was in the Feely Bag. On the board or on chart paper, list the
descriptive words students used, along with simple drawings that illustrate students’ ideas
(e.g., two circles to represent the circular faces of the cylinder). Although students may
not be able to read the words on the board or chart paper, the development of the list
demonstrates to students that mathematical ideas can be recorded.
Ask students to identify objects that look like a cylinder (e.g., a pop can, a candle).
Have students explain how they know that the objects are examples of three-dimensional
figures. Add illustrations of students’ examples to the list of descriptive words and drawings.
Develop lists using students’ descriptive words and related objects for the other
three-dimensional figures. Highlight the vocabulary that can be used to describe the
figures (e.g., face, edge, round).
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty describing three-dimensional figures. Prompt these
students by asking questions like those listed in Getting Started.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
Explain the game to students:
You may need to simplify the What’s in the Bag? game, especially for students in
Junior Kindergarten, by including only four pictures on the game board.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
71
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
Extend the game by having a student describe only one aspect of a three-dimensional
figure he or she feels in the Feely Bag. Ask other students to identify the figure that
the student could be feeling. For example, if a student states that the figure has “a
circle on it”, other students might identify a cylinder or a cone as possible figures. Ask
the student who is describing the figure to provide other clues, one at a time. After each
clue, allow students to name possible figures, narrowing their choices as they hear more
clues. Continue until students are able to identify the specific figure the student is
touching in the Feely Bag.
MATH LANGUAGE
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
figure
pointed/pointy
flat
straight
curved
round
smooth
edge
corner
face
cone
cube
sphere
cylinder
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they are able to:
• identify three-dimensional figures;
• describe three-dimensional figures;
• match three-dimensional figures to pictures.
As you observe students, it may be necessary to prompt them to explain their thinking.
Ask:
• “What object looks like a sphere (cone, cylinder, cube)?”
• “How could you describe this figure?”
• “How do you know that this figure matches this picture?”
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Send home Prop3DK.BLM2: Figure Detective. This Home Connection task encourages
parents/guardians to help their children find examples of three-dimensional figures
at home.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Mystery Box
Materials
– 1 Mystery Box containing three-dimensional figures: cube, cone, sphere, and cylinder
(commercially produced figures or found objects)
– three-dimensional figures identical to those in the Mystery Box
Show students a three-dimensional figure, and explain that there is an identical figure
in the Mystery Box, along with several other figures. Ask a student to reach into the
Mystery Box and try to find the matching figure. Have the student remove the figure
from the box and explain why the two figures match. Repeat the task with other figures.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Tracks
Materials
– 1 baking sheet with a thin layer of wet sand or modelling clay (if using modelling clay,
a baking sheet is optional)
– three-dimensional figures: cube, cone, cylinder
Discuss how people and animals make tracks in snow or mud. Tell students that you have
heard that three-dimensional figures can leave tracks and that students will explore
what these tracks look like.
Ask a student to choose a cone, cube, or cylinder and press one of its faces into the sand
or modelling clay on the baking sheet. Discuss the shape of the “track” left by the figure.
Have another student press a different face of the same figure into the sand or
modelling clay. Discuss how the second track is the same as or different from the
first one. Repeat with all the faces of the three-dimensional figure. Create tracks
with the other three-dimensional figures.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
HOME CONNECTION
Next, ask students to close their eyes, and have a volunteer select a figure and make
tracks in the sand or modelling clay using each face of the figure once. Have other
students look at the tracks and try to guess which three-dimensional figure left the
tracks. Ask students to explain how they know the tracks belong to a specific figure.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
73
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
74
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
How Are They The Same?
Materials
– containers of 6 to 10 three-dimensional figures (commercially produced or found
objects) (1 container per pair of students)
Provide each pair of students with a container of three-dimensional figures. Have
students take turns selecting two figures from the container and placing them side by
side. Ask students to explain how the two figures are the same (e.g., both figures roll,
both figures have squares on them, both figures have circles on them).
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Short Sorts
Materials
– a large variety of three-dimensional objects (e.g., cans, boxes, balls, cones)
Provide pairs of students with a collection of objects. Ask students to sort the objects
and to explain how they sorted them.
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Cone
Cylinder
Sphere
Cone
Cube
Sphere
Cylinder
Cube
Prop3DK.BLM1
What’s in the Bag? Game Board
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about three-dimensional figures.
Help your child be a Figure Detective at home. Encourage him or her
to find objects that look like the following three-dimensional figures.
Cylinder
Cone
Cube
Sphere
Rectangular Prism
If possible, allow your child to bring one of the objects to class. We
would like to keep these objects at school for a while so that we can
talk about them as we learn about three-dimensional figures.
Thank you for helping your child be a Figure Detective.
Prop3DK.BLM2
Figure Detective
Kindergarten Learning Activity: Geometric Relationships
BIG IDEA
Geometric Relationships
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS*
Students will:
• use language accurately to describe basic spatial relationships (e.g., above/below,
near/far, in/out);
• identify and sort two-dimensional shapes (e.g., circle, square, rectangle, triangle).
MATERIALS
– The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss
– a variety of shapes (circles, squares, rectangles, triangles) cut from felt (or a variety
of magnetic shapes)
– a felt board (or magnetic board)
– a large variety of shapes (circles, squares, rectangles, triangles) cut from
construction paper
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (4 to 6 sheets per student)
– glue sticks (1 per student or group)
– a stapler
– GeoRelK.BLM1: Shape Collage (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Progression through the stages of shape composition (precomposer, piece assembler,
picture maker, and so on) suggested by Clements (see pp. 26–28) depends on students’
exposure to two-dimensional shapes and opportunities to experiment with them. On
entering school, many Kindergarten students are at the piece-assembler stage, but some
students may have progressed beyond that stage as a result of experiences with shape
activities or puzzles at home.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
The Shape of Things
The following tasks allow students, regardless of their stage of development, to extend
their understanding of two-dimensional shapes and the ways in which they can be
combined to form larger shapes.
* The source of the curriculum expectations for Kindergarten is The Kindergarten Program, 1998
(Toronto: Ministry of Education and Training, 1998), pp. 16–17.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
75
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
GETTING STARTED
Read a book with illustrations consisting of two-dimensional shapes. A good choice is
The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss (New York: Bright & Early Books,
Random House, 1973). Talk about the shapes that students observe in the illustrations.
Next, show felt or magnetic shapes to students. Demonstrate how the shapes can be put
together to make a picture.
Invite a student to create a picture using the felt or magnetic shapes. Discuss how the
shapes were put together to create the picture. Have other students create pictures,
and discuss how the shapes were combined.
WORKING ON IT
Explain to students that they will make shape booklets. Have students create four to six
pictures using glue sticks and shapes cut from construction paper. Encourage students to
combine shapes to form different parts of the picture (e.g., three triangles for a head).
When students have completed their pictures, staple their pages together to form a
booklet.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Provide an opportunity for students to share their booklets with one another.
Invite students to reproduce a picture from their booklet using the felt or magnetic
shapes. Ask students to describe the shapes in the picture and to explain how they put
the shapes together. Discuss students’ pictures by posing such questions as:
• “Why did you choose these three shapes to make a house?”
• “How could you make the house in a different way?”
• “Would a circle be a good shape to use to make a house? Why or why not?”
76
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may be at the precomposer stage (see p. 26). Demonstrate for these
students how to combine shapes to make larger shapes. Have these students work with
a partner who is functioning at the piece-assembler or picture-maker stage.
Challenge students to create a story booklet with pictures that are made from smaller
shapes.
MATH LANGUAGE
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
shape
triangle
square
rectangle
circle
side
corner
straight
curved
round
positional language, such as:
– under
– over
– beside
– around
– between
– inside
– next to
– in front of
– on top of
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Emphasize pictures in which students demonstrate proficiency at the piece-assembler,
picture-maker, and shape-composer stages (see p. 27). Discuss how the pictures are
composed of shapes to form larger, more complex shapes.
77
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
ASSESSMENT
Examine students’ pictures to assess the complexity of their shape-composition skills.
• Do they create pictures in which individual shapes represent separate objects, or are
they able to combine shapes to make parts of the picture?
• Do they recognize how shapes can fit together?
• How well do they combine shapes to create larger shapes?
HOME CONNECTION
Send home GeoRelK.BLM1: Shape Collage. In this Home Connection task, students and
their parents/guardians create collages using shapes cut from magazines, newspapers,
or flyers. The collages may include one kind of shape (e.g., only triangles) or a variety
of shapes.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Geoboard Shapes
Materials
– geoboards (1 per student or pair)
– geobands (elastic bands) (several per student or pair)
Provide each student or each pair of students with a geoboard and a few geobands.
Invite students to make individual shapes on the geoboard (e.g., square, triangle,
rectangle). Discuss with students how they made each shape.
Ask students to use geobands to create pictures with squares, triangles, and rectangles.
For example, a student might combine a square and a triangle to make a picture of a
house. Have students share their pictures with a partner.
Have students show their creations to the class and explain how they combined shapes
to make their pictures.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Pattern Block Puzzles
Materials
– GeoRelK.BLM2a–c: Pattern Block Puzzles (colour the shapes on the blackline masters
according to the pattern block colours: colour triangles green, for example; 1 set of
puzzles per student)
– pattern blocks
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
One-Shape Pictures
Materials
– paper shapes (squares, circles, triangles, rectangles) of different sizes
– glue sticks (1 per student or group)
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (1 sheet per student)
– markers or crayons (optional)
Show students how to create a picture of a dog using rectangular paper shapes.
Ask students to choose one kind of shape and to create a picture by gluing the paper
shapes on a sheet of paper. Let students use markers or crayons to add details to their
pictures if time allows.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Have students cover the outlines on GeoRelK.BLM2a–c: Pattern Block Puzzles with
pattern blocks.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
3-D Museum
Materials
– GeoRelK.BLM3: Request for Packaging Materials (1 per student)
– a large variety of packaging materials, such as cereal boxes, paper rolls, chocolate
boxes, and shoeboxes (encourage students to bring these materials from home)
– glue
– masking tape
– construction paper
– paint
– markers
– labels (slips of paper or index cards; 1 per student)
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
79
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
80
This task provides an opportunity for students to combine three-dimensional figures to
create objects. The emphasis is on naming figures, not on building with them.
Send home GeoRelK.BLM3: Request for Packaging Materials a few days before you begin
this task. Discuss the packaging materials brought to class by students (e.g., shape of
faces, number of faces, flat/curved surfaces).
Explain to students that they are going to use the packaging materials to create objects
for a 3-D museum that people will visit. You may want to have students build objects
related to a theme (e.g., vehicles, machines, monsters).
Have students create objects by gluing or taping the packaging materials together and
decorating the objects with construction paper, paint, markers, and so on.
Ask students to name their object and to identify the three-dimensional figures they
used to build it. Record this information on a label and display it with the object in the
museum.
Invite other classes to tour the 3-D Museum. Students can describe their objects to
the visitors.
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
GeoRelK.BLM1
Shape Collage
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about two-dimensional shapes, such as
circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles, and how these shapes can be
put together to form larger shapes.
Circle
Square
Rectangle
Triangle
Make a shape collage with your child. Here is an example of a shape
collage of triangles.
You can make your collage with one kind of shape (for example, all
squares) or with a variety of shapes.
• Have your child look for shapes in magazines, newspapers, and flyers.
• Help your child cut them out and glue the shapes in an interesting
arrangement on a sheet of paper.
Allow your child to bring the shape collage to school to share with
the class.
Thank you for helping your child make a collage with shapes.
GeoRelK.BLM2a
Pattern Block Puzzles
GeoRelK.BLM2b
Pattern Block Puzzles
GeoRelK.BLM2c
Pattern Block Puzzles
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about three-dimensional figures, such as
the following:
Cube
Cone
Cylinder
We are also learning about how three-dimensional figures can be
combined to build structures. In a few days, we will begin building
structures by using packaging materials that are three-dimensional
figures.
You can help! We would appreciate if you could send any empty
packaging materials that are three-dimensional figures to class with
your child. For example, you could send such materials as cereal boxes,
chocolate boxes, shoeboxes, and paper rolls.
Other three-dimensional figures, such as the following, will also be
used to create the structures. Your child may not know the names of
all these figures. If you find one the following figures, please share
the name with your child:
Triangle–Based
Pyramid
Rectangular
Prism
Triangular Prism
Square-Based
Pyramid
Thank you in advance for the materials you are able to provide for our
math activity.
GeoRelK.BLM3
Request for Packaging Materials
Kindergarten Learning Activity: Location and Movement
BIG IDEA
Location and Movement
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS*
Students will:
• use language accurately to describe basic spatial relationships (e.g., above/below,
near/far, in/out).
MATERIALS
– small collection of toys (toy car, doll, ball, building blocks, plastic animals)
– LocK.BLM1: Where Is It? (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
In Kindergarten, students develop language related to geometry, including terminology
used to name shapes and figures (e.g., circle, cube) and vocabulary that describes
positional relationships (e.g., over, under, beside, on top of). It is important for young
students to have a variety of concrete and physical experiences that provide
opportunities for them to continue to acquire and comprehend geometric language.
The tasks in this learning activity provide opportunities for students to act out positional
words (e.g., on, beside, under) and to describe the location of one object (person) in
relation to another. For example, students might say, “The cup is on the table” or “John
is sitting beside Miranda”. These experiences in communicating positional relationships
help to develop students’ ability to use and comprehend positional language.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Over, Under, Here, and There
GETTING STARTED
Place toys in various locations in the classroom. Ask a student to describe the location of
a particular toy (e.g., “The toy car is on the table”). Ask another student to describe the
location of the toy in another way (e.g., “The toy car is near the book shelf”).
Ensure that you place the toys in locations that allow students to use a variety of
positional language (e.g., on, under, in, beside).
WORKING ON IT
Play the following games to promote students’ use and comprehension of positional language.
* The source of the curriculum expectations for Kindergarten is The Kindergarten Program, 1998
(Toronto: Ministry of Education and Training, 1998), pp. 16–17.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
81
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Game 1: I Spy
Play a variation of I Spy in which students look for classroom objects when given clues
about their location (e.g., “I spy something under the chart stand”). Students could give
different correct answers (i.e., there may be more than one object under the chart stand).
Play the game several times. Encourage students to use a variety of positional words.
Game 2: Hide and Find
Arrange students in pairs. Have student B look away while student A hides an object in
the classroom. Have student B then try to locate the object by asking questions that
student A may answer with only “yes” or “no”. For example, student B may ask, “Is the
object close to my desk? Is it under the table? Is it beside the window?” Have students
switch roles when the object is found.
Game 3: Simon Says
Have students stand in a circle. Tell them that they are to follow the leader (teacher
or student) if the leader starts the instructions by saying, “Simon says”. Tell students
to ignore the leader’s instructions if the leader does not say, “Simon says”. For example,
the leader might give the following instructions:
• “Simon says, put your hands on your shoulders.”
• “Put your right foot in front of you.”
• “Simon says, put your hands behind your back.”
• “Jump very high.”
• “Simon says, put your hands under your chin.”
Tell students to remain standing if they follow the directions correctly. If they do not,
have them sit down. After a series of five instructions, have students stand up again so
that they are not eliminated from the game for long. Have students take turns assuming
the role of leader after they understand the game.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Ask students to discuss words that are used to describe location. Pose questions, such as:
• “What are some words that tell us where things are located?”
• “When do you use words like over, under, and inside when you are on the playground?
in the classroom? at home?
• “When do other people (teachers, parents, shopkeepers) need to use words like
these?”
• “If someone did not understand the word under (over, inside, between), what actions
could you do with your hands to help that person understand?”
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Some students may have an emerging understanding of positional vocabulary. Provide
opportunities for these students to listen to and follow simple instruction (e.g., “Put the
book next to the tray”). It may be necessary to provide visual cues (gestures) to assist
their comprehension.
Challenge students by having them place an object in a location after listening to a series
of instructions (e.g., “Place the book … on the shelf … beside the plant … near the door”).
MATH LANGUAGE
positional language, such as:
– under
– around
– through
– inside
– next to
– in
– near
– far
– in front of
– on top of
– between
– beside
ASSESSMENT
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Observe students to assess how well they understand and use positional language.
Do they understand simple positional words (on, under, in) and more complex words
(next to, beside, between)?
HOME CONNECTION
Send home LocK.BLM1: Where Is It? In this Home Connection game, students use
positional language to find the location of an object.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
83
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Houdini and Edmo Game
Materials
– Bailey’s Book House (Ministry-licensed software)
– computer(s)
This computer game allows students to explore positional language (e.g., on, under,
behind, beside) as they move Houdini to different places around his doghouse. When
students open this software program, they need to click the doghouse to get to the
Houdini and Edmo Game. To begin the game, students must click the worm on the lefthand side of the screen.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Where Is Bear?
Materials
– teddy bear counters (1 per student)
– LocK.BLM2a-b: Bear’s House (1 of each per student)
Read or tell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Have students act out the
story as you emphasize positional language (e.g., in my bed, on my chair).
Explain to students that they will create their own story about a bear. Instruct students
to place the teddy bear counter in a specific place on LocK.BLM2a–b: Bear’s House (e.g.,
in front of the window, on the table). Have students tell a story to a partner as they
move the bear counter from place to place.
Have students repeat the task several times, using a new starting place each time.
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Moving in the Gym
Materials
– gym mats
– 2 to 4 chairs
– hoops
– 4 skipping ropes
At four stations in the gym, have students participate in tasks that focus on movement
and positional language.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• “Lift your left foot off the floor.”
• “Place your right hand on your head.”
• “Place your left knee on the floor.”
After the warm-up, demonstrate the tasks at each station. Divide the class into four
groups. Have each group work at a station for approximately five minutes. Have students
move through the stations in a clockwise order. Establish a signal to indicate students
should stop a task, sit on the floor, and point to their next station. When all students
are pointing to the correct station, instruct them to walk to the next station and begin
the task.
Station 1: Place two to four chairs in a row. Have students crawl under the chairs, and
then hop around the chairs back to their starting position. Suggest that students
experiment with other ways of moving under and around the chairs.
Station 2: Place several hoops on the ground. Direct students to jump into and out of the
hoops. Have students put the hoops in other positions (e.g., above their heads, behind
their backs, in front of them).
Station 3: Have students walk forward, backwards, and sideways along a line on the floor.
Let students experiment with different ways of moving (e.g., hopping, skipping) along
the line.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Start with a warm-up task by calling out instructions, such as the following:
• “Raise your arms in front of you.”
Station 4: Place two to four extended skipping ropes parallel to each other on the floor.
Have students jump forward or backwards over the ropes.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Up, Up, Down
Materials
– Up, Up, Down by Robert Munsch (Toronto: Annick Press, 2001)
Read the story Up, Up, Down. Read the story again, and have students dramatize climbing
“up, up, up” and then falling down. Students can join in repeating the patterns in the
story as you read.
Appendix A: Kindergarten Learning Activities
85
LocK.BLM1
Where Is It?
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning to describe the location of objects in the
classroom and around the school using such words as:
beside
on top of
over
in front of
to the left of
near
behind
under
to the right of
Here is a game you can play at home, in the car, at the grocery store,
or in the park.
Choose an object, but don’t tell your child what it is. Have your child
identify the secret object by asking questions. You may answer only
“yes” or “no” to the questions. For example, your child might ask:
• “Is it on the table?”
• “Is it beside the salt?”
• “Is it under the slide?”
• “Is it near the steering wheel?”
Asking questions like these gives children opportunities to practise
language that helps them describe where things are located.
Have fun playing the game!
LocK.BLM2a
Bear’s House
LocK.BLM2b
Bear’s House
B.
Appendix Contents
Grade 1
Learning Activities
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Explore-a-Shape
Blackline masters: Prop2D1.BLM1 – Prop2D1.BLM5
. . . . . . . . . . 89
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: Famous Figures . . . . . . . . . . 97
Blackline masters: Prop3D1.BLM1 – Prop3D1.BLM5
Geometric Relationships: Pattern Block Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Blackline masters: GeoRel1.BLM1 – GeoRel1.BLM5
Location and Movement: Simply Symmetrical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Blackline masters: Loc1.BLM1 – Loc1.BLM3
Grade 1 Learning Activity: Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
BIG IDEA
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify and describe common two-dimensional shapes (e.g., circles, triangles,
rectangles, squares) and sort and classify them by their attributes (e.g., colour; size;
texture; number of sides), using concrete materials and pictorial representations
(e.g., “I put all the triangles in one group. Some are long and skinny, and some are
short and fat, but they all have three sides.”).
MATERIALS
– Prop2D1.BLM1a-b: Two-Dimensional Shapes
– Feely Bags: paper or cloth bags containing shapes from Prop2D1.BLM1a-b:
Two-Dimensional Shapes (1 bag per pair of students)
– 1 Feely Bag with 1 shape for each student
– Prop2D1.BLM2: Match Me Game Board (1 per student)
– counters (8 per student)
– Prop2D1.BLM3a-g: Assorted Shapes
– sorting circles, hoops, or masking tape circles on the floor (3 or 4 per group)
– Prop2D1.BLM4: Shapes at Home ( 1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Young students learn to identify two-dimensional shapes by their general appearance.
For example, students will recognize that Shape A illustrated below is a triangle because
“It looks like a triangle”. They do not think about the properties of the shape (e.g., three
sides and three vertices) as they identify it. For this reason, young students will be less
likely to identify Shape B as a triangle, because it does not match their image of what
a triangle looks like.
Shape A
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Explore-a-Shape
Shape B
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
89
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Identification of shapes based on their properties, rather than on their general
appearance, represents an important development in students’ geometric thinking: the
progression from Level 0 (visualization) to Level 1 (analysis), according to the van Hiele
model of geometric thinking (see p. 12). This development is characterized by a growing
ability to analyse and draw conclusions about the appearance of shapes (e.g., “This shape
has three sides, so it must be a triangle”).
The following tasks provide students with experiences in manipulating different twodimensional shapes. Because they touch the shapes without seeing them, students focus
on the characteristics of the shapes (e.g., number of sides) and use these characteristics
to identify the shapes.
GETTING STARTED
Before this task, prepare a Feely Bag with a variety of shapes from Prop2D1.BLM1a-b:
Two-Dimensional Shapes.
Have students sit in a circle. Show students the Feely Bag and ask them to predict the
contents of the bag. Ask students, “What senses could you use to help you figure out
what the hidden objects in the bag are?”
When a student suggests using the sense of touch, allow a few students to reach inside
the bag one at a time and feel the hidden objects. After students determine that the
bag contains shapes, ask a student to reach into the bag and select and manipulate one
shape without looking at it. Ask the student to name the shape and to explain how he or
she is able to identify the shape by touch alone (e.g., “I think the shape is a triangle
because I feel three sides”).
After several students have had opportunities to identify shapes in the bag using only
their sense of touch, empty the contents of the bag. Ask students to describe the
shapes by asking questions, such as:
• “What is the name of this shape? How do you know?”
• “How many sides does this shape have?”
• “How many corners does this shape have?”
• “Are any of the shapes alike? How are they alike?”
• “Choose two different shapes. How are they different?”
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Words About Shapes
r
Co
e
r
C ur
ne
d
Si
ved
Straight
WORKING ON IT
The following tasks will help students to develop an understanding of two-dimensional
shapes.
Task 1: Feely Bag
Before this task, prepare a Feely Bag with a variety of shapes from Prop2D1.BLM1a-b:
Two-Dimensional Shapes. Ensure that the bag contains one shape for every student.
Arrange students in a circle. Demonstrate how to reach into the Feely Bag, select a
shape, remove it from the bag, and quickly place it behind your back without looking at it.
Pass the Feely Bag around the circle, and have each student select a shape, hide it behind his
or her back, and manipulate it. Ask students to describe their mystery shape: “My shape
has three sides”, “My shape has pointy corners”, “My shape feels like a triangle”.
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
As students discuss the shapes, record relevant vocabulary and drawings about shapes on
chart paper. Allow students to refer to the chart paper as needed during subsequent tasks.
If students have difficulty verbalizing what they are touching, ask them questions, such
as the following:
• “Do you feel a straight side?”
• “How many sides are there?”
• “Are all the sides the same length?”
• “How many corners does it have?”
• “Are there any curved sides?”
Conclude the task by having students turn to a partner and describe the shape each has
behind his or her back. Have students guess what shape their partner is hiding.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
91
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Task 2: Match Me
Have students play Match Me with a partner. Provide each pair of students with
a Feely Bag containing a variety of two-dimensional shapes from Prop2D1.BLM1a-b:
Two-Dimensional Shapes. Give each student a copy of Prop2D1.BLM2: Match Me Game
Board and eight counters.
Tell students to take turns reaching into the Feely Bag, touching a shape, describing it to
their partner, and naming it. After students identify the shape, have them remove it from
the bag and verify that they are correct. If students are correct, tell them to place a
counter on a matching picture on their game board. Have students return the shape to
the bag after each turn. Instruct students to return a shape to the Feely Bag if the
shape they remove already has counters on both matching pictures. The game is finished
when one player covers all the spaces on his or her game board.
Task 3: All Alike
Arrange students in groups of three or four. Provide each group with a collection of
shapes from Prop2D1.BLM3a-g: Assorted Shapes. To begin the task, ask a group member
to select any shape from the collection. Then ask another group member to select a
second shape that is like the first in some way (e.g., both shapes have the same number
of sides, both shapes have a square corner) and state the sorting rule he or she used.
Next, ask the group to find all the other shapes in the collection that are like the first
and second shapes, according to the same rule. Have the group repeat the task by taking
turns selecting different shapes and using different sorting rules.
Task 4: Shape Sort
Provide each group of three or four students with a collection of shapes from
Prop2D1.BLM3a-g: Assorted Shapes. Instruct students to sort the shapes in various
ways and to discuss their sorting rules. Allow students to use sorting circles, hoops,
or masking tape circles on the floor to help them organize their sorts.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
After students have completed the task, pose questions that focus on the characteristics
of two-dimensional shapes:
• “What is this shape? How do you know?”
• “How do you identify a shape? For example, how do you know that this shape is a
triangle?”
• “How would you describe a triangle (square, rectangle) to a Kindergarten student?”
• “How are these shapes the same? How are they different?”
• “What is special about a triangle? a square? a rectangle?”
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
In the Match Me game (Task 2), challenge students by having them select a shape on the
game board and try to find the corresponding shape in the Feely Bag without looking.
MATH LANGUAGE
– triangle
– circle
– rectangle
– square
– property
– side
– corner
– straight
– curved or round
– two-dimensional shape
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• identify two-dimensional shapes;
• describe two-dimensional shapes using appropriate vocabulary;
• identify two-dimensional shapes given oral descriptions;
• identify shapes by their attributes (e.g., number of sides).
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop2D1.BLM4: Shapes at Home. This Home Connection task provides
opportunities for students and their parents/guardians to find and discuss twodimensional shapes at home.
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty identifying the shapes hidden in the Feely Bag. Have
these students manipulate and describe shapes while looking at them.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
What Shape Could It Be?
Materials
– 4 two-dimensional shapes (triangle, square, rectangle, circle)
– overhead projector
– 1 sheet of paper
– Prop2D1.BLM5: What Shape Could It Be? (1 per student)
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
93
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Place a two-dimensional shape on the overhead projector, and cover it with a sheet of
paper. Turn on the overhead projector and slide the paper to expose a small part of the
shape. Ask students to try to identify the shape by looking at only a part of it. Have
them explain their thinking. For example, in the diagram below, the shape could be a
triangle, square, or rectangle.
Shape
Sheet of Paper
As you continue to expose more of the shape, have students make new conjectures about
what the shape could be.
You could also have students draw on Prop2D1.BLM5: What Shape Could It Be? as the
shape is partly, then fully, exposed. In the first two spaces, ask students to draw what
they think the hidden shape looks like, based on the part of the shape they can see.
After the shape has been fully exposed, have students draw the shape in the third space.
Repeat the task until the four two-dimensional shapes are revealed (triangle, square,
rectangle, circle).
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Stretch-a-Shape
Materials
– geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (elastic bands) (1 per student)
Ask students to use geoboards and geobands to create shapes while listening to oral
instructions:
• “Make the largest (triangle, square, rectangle) possible.”
• “Make the smallest (triangle, square, rectangle) possible.”
• “Make a shape with one (two, three, four) pin(s) inside it.”
• “Make a shape that looks like a stop sign (kite, house).”
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• “Make a shape with three (four, five, six) sides.”
• “Make a shape with three (four, five, six) corners.”
• “Make a shape with a square corner.”
• “Make a shape that has two (three, four) equal sides.”
• “Make a triangle that points up (down, sideways).”
After students have created a shape in response to an instruction, choose two geoboard
examples, show them to the class, and ask students to compare the two shapes. For example,
students might say, “Both shapes have three corners”, “Both shapes have two pins inside”,
“Both shapes have sides with different lengths”.
Have students display the shapes to classmates by holding their geoboards above their
heads. Ask students to look at the various shapes and to describe ways in which the
shapes are alike and different.
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Secret Rule
Materials
– a variety of shapes from Prop2D1.BLM3a-g: Assorted Shapes
– 3 sorting circles, hoops, or masking tape circles on the floor
Ask students to watch as you sort shapes into two groups (e.g., shapes that have three
sides and shapes that do not). Explain to students that you used a secret rule to sort the
shapes and that they need to figure out the rule you used. Encourage students to explain
the sorting rule. Test each sorting rule proposed by students by holding up one shape at
a time and asking whether it matches the rule. For example, ask, “Does this shape have
three sides? Is it placed in the correct group?”
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
• “Make the thinnest (triangle, rectangle) possible.”
Sort the shapes in different ways and ask students to determine the sorting rules.
Include sorts that involve three groups (e.g., only straight sides, both straight and
curved sides, only curved sides).
Have students work with a partner. Explain that one student will sort a variety of shapes
from Prop2D1.BLM3a-g: Assorted Shapes according to a secret rule. The other student
will try to determine the rule. Then have the partners switch roles.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
95
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
96
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Show Your Shape
Materials
– Prop2D1.BLM3a-g: Assorted Shapes (1 shape for each student)
Arrange students in a circle. Provide each student with a shape from Prop2D1.BLM3a-g:
Assorted Shapes. Tell students to hold up their shape if it matches the statement you
make. Provide statements, such as the following:
• “Show your shape if it has three sides.”
• “Show your shape if it has a curved side.”
• “Show your shape if it is a triangle.”
• “Show your shape if it has a square corner.”
• “Show your shape if it has two long sides and two short sides.”
For some statements, such as “Show your shape if it is a triangle”, ask students to
explain why their shape matches the statement. For example, a student might say,
“My shape is a triangle because it has three sides”.
For some statements, two or more students will hold up their shapes. When this happens,
encourage students to compare these shapes by asking, “How are these shapes the same?
How are they different?”
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM1a
Two-Dimensional Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM1b
Two-Dimensional Shapes
Rectangle
Circle
Square
Triangle
Circle
Triangle
Rectangle
Square
Prop2D1.BLM2
Match Me Game Board
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3a
Assorted Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3b
Assorted Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3c
Assorted Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3d
Assorted Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3e
Assorted Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3f
Assorted Shapes
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D1.BLM3g
Assorted Shapes
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about two-dimensional shapes, such as
rectangles, circles, squares, and triangles.
Rectangle
Square
Circle
Triangles
Walk through your home with your child. Together, find circles, squares,
rectangles, and triangles. Here are some examples of shapes you might find.
12
9
3
6
Circle
Rectangle
Square
When you find a shape in your home, have your child do the following things:
1. Trace around the outside of the shape with a finger.
2. Describe the shape.
3. Draw a picture of the shape.
Encourage your child to bring his or her shape pictures to school to
share with the class.
Have fun exploring shapes together.
Prop2D1.BLM4
Shapes at Home
I thought ...
Then I thought ...
Now I know ...
I thought ...
Then I thought ...
Now I know ...
I thought ...
Then I thought ...
Now I know ...
I thought ...
Then I thought ...
Now I know ...
Prop2D1.BLM5
What Shape Could It Be?
Grade 1 Learning Activity: Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
BIG IDEA
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• trace and identify the two-dimensional faces of three-dimensional figures, using
concrete models (e.g., “I can see squares on the cube.”);
• identify and describe common three-dimensional figures (e.g., cubes, cones, cylinders,
spheres, rectangular prisms) and sort and classify them by their attributes (e.g., colour;
size; texture; number and shape of faces), using concrete materials and pictorial
representations (e.g., “I put the cones and the cylinders in the same group because
they all have circles on them.”);
• describe similarities and differences between an everyday object and a threedimensional figure (e.g., “A water bottle looks like a cylinder, except the bottle
gets thinner at the top”).
MATERIALS
– Prop3D1.BLM1a-e: Figure Cards (1 complete set)
– Prop3D1.BLM2: Figure Finders (1 per student)
– a variety of three-dimensional figures (cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres; rectangular
prisms are optional) (1 figure for each student)
– Prop3D1.BLM3: 3-D Is All Around Me (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
In Grade 1, students learn to identify three-dimensional figures (cubes, cones,
cylinders, and spheres) and to describe the figures using their own informal language
(e.g., a sphere is round all over; a cone has a pointy part). Opportunities to locate
examples of three-dimensional figures in their classroom, school, and community deepen
students’ understanding of the properties of the figures. Students learn, for example,
that the surfaces of three-dimensional figures can be flat or curved. As well, they begin
to recognize the two-dimensional faces of the three-dimensional figures. As teachers
model geometric vocabulary, students begin to acquire the language that allows them
to describe the figures by referring to their properties.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
Famous Figures
97
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
In the Famous Figures task, students identify similarities and differences between
three-dimensional figures. This task allows students to recognize and describe properties
of three-dimensional figures at students’ individual level of understanding. Some students
will describe similarities and differences in simple terms (“The cube and the cylinder have
flat parts”), while other students will recognize and explain similarities and differences
with greater sophistication (“Both the cylinder and the cone have faces that are circles”).
The focus of the task and the learning connections that follow is on investigating and
describing the attributes of three-dimensional figures, not on recording and memorizing
the number and kinds of faces of different figures. These kinds of tasks help students
recognize that three-dimensional figures have specific properties and that three-dimensional
figures can be compared using these properties.
GETTING STARTED
Cover the names and show students the pictures of the three-dimensional figures on
Prop3D1.BLM1a-e: Figure Cards. Ask students to identify the figures and to find examples
of them in the classroom (e.g., a marker is a cylinder, a tennis ball is a sphere). Hold the
objects next to the matching pictures, and have students discuss the similarities between
the three-dimensional object and its two-dimensional representation (e.g., the tennis ball
has a curved surface, and the picture of the sphere has rounded lines).
As you discuss examples of three-dimensional figures, explain to students that the
surface of a figure can be flat or curved. Explain that a flat surface is called a “face”.
Ask students to locate faces on objects that are examples of three-dimensional figures.
Discuss with students that three-dimensional figures can have edges and corners.
Ask students to locate edges and corners on classroom objects.
Take students on a walk through the school, playground, or community, and instruct them
to look for examples of three-dimensional figures. As Figure Finders, they need to find
examples of cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, and rectangular prisms, and draw the objects
on Prop3D1.BLM2: Figure Finders.
On the walk, ask questions, such as the following:
• “Why is this object an example of a cone (cube, cylinder, sphere, rectangular prism)?”
• “Which figure does this object look like? Why?”
• “What do we need to look for when we want to find an example of a cone?”
• “In what ways are a cylinder and a cone the same? How are they different?”
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
For example, if the Famous Figure is a cube, students could make the following statements:
• “My figure is the same because it has straight edges on it too.” (rectangular prism)
• “My figure is different because it has a circle face.” (cone, cylinder)
• “My figure is the same because they both can slide.” (cone, cylinder, rectangular prism)
• “My figure is the same because they’re both cubes.” (cube)
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Pose riddles about Famous Figures, such as the following:
• “This Famous Figure has six faces. All its faces are squares. What is the Famous Figure?”
• “This Famous Figure has a face that is a circle and a curved surface. What is the
Famous Figure?”
Ask students to justify their answers.
Provide opportunities for students to create and pose their own riddles about Famous Figures.
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty comparing their own figure with the Famous Figure.
Point to the different faces of the Famous Figure and ask these students to identify the
shapes of the faces. Then ask students whether their own figure has a face that is the
same shape as a face on the Famous Figure.
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
WORKING ON IT
Have students sit in a circle. Discuss the meaning of the word “famous”. Explain to
students that they will meet some Famous Figures. Provide each student with a threedimensional figure. Choose a figure to be the Famous Figure. Pass the Famous Figure
around the circle. Instruct students that when they receive the Famous Figure, they
need to think of and explain a way in which their own figure is the same as or different
from the Famous Figure.
Challenge students by asking them to find all the ways two figures are alike or different.
For example, if students select a cylinder and a cone, they might explain that a cylinder
and a cone are alike because both figures have a face that is a circle, and that a cylinder
and a cone are different because a cylinder has two circular faces, but the cone only has one.
Challenge students to name all the three-dimensional figures that share a common
attribute. Ask such questions as:
• “Which figures have a face that is a circle?”
• “Which figures have a face that is a rectangle?”
• “Which figures have a curved surface?”
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
99
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
MATH LANGUAGE
– three-dimensional figure
– two-dimensional shape
– face
– edge
– surface
– curved
– flat
– straight
– cone
– cube
– cylinder
– sphere
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they describe properties of three-dimensional figures
using appropriate vocabulary. During the tasks, ask such questions as the following:
• “What figure is this? How do you know?”
• “Why is this object an example of a cone (cube, cylinder, sphere, rectangular prism)?”
• “Which figure does this object look like? Why?”
• “How are a cylinder and a cone alike? How are they different?”
• “Which figures have a rectangle (circle, square, triangle) on them?”
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop3D1.BLM3: 3-D Is All Around Me. In this Home Connection task, students
locate and draw three-dimensional figures in their home.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Just Like Me in 3-D
Materials
– a variety of three-dimensional figures (cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres), or cards
from Prop3D1.BLM4: Cards for Just Like Me in 3-D (1 shape for each student)
Provide each student with a three-dimensional figure or a figure card.
Play Just Like Me in 3-D:
• Have students sit in a circle.
• As the leader, make a statement to the group, such as, “I am a cube”, or “My figure
has a circle on it”.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• After a few rounds, let students take the role of the leader.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Playtime Park
Materials
– a variety of three-dimensional figures (cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, rectangular
prisms)
– a ramp made from a wooden board propped up at one end on a few books
– green construction paper to represent grass
– 2 large sorting circles or hoops
– cards labelled Slide, Roll, Stack, Both
Tell students that they will take three-dimensional figures to the Playtime Park to find
out which figures roll, slide, and stack.
Gather students around the ramp. Be sure the ramp isn’t so steep that all figures roll
down but is steep enough for figures to slide. Have students release each figure at the
top of the ramp and observe whether the figure rolls or slides down the ramp. Encourage
students to experiment with the different faces of each figure.
Next, gather students around a sheet of green construction paper on a desk or the floor,
and explain to students that the figures like to climb on top of each other in this area of
the park. Here, students determine whether figures stack or do not stack when they are
placed on top of other figures. Note that a cone can stack on figures that have faces, but
other figures cannot stack on a cone. Explain to students that the “stackability” of a figure
in this task is based on whether the figure can stack on any of the other figures.
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
• Tell students to stand if they have a figure or a card that matches the leader’s
statement and exclaim, “Just like me!”
After students have investigated whether figures slide, roll, and stack, gather students
for a sorting task. Use two overlapping sorting circles (or hoops) to represent a Venn
diagram (as shown below), and label the sections Slide, Roll, and Both.
Slide
Both
Roll
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
101
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
Hold up the figures, one at a time, and ask students to explain in which section of the
Venn diagram each should be placed. For example, a cone should be placed in the section
labelled Both, because it slides and rolls. After each figure is placed on the Venn
diagram, ask students to verify that its placement is correct by using the ramp.
Sort the figures in different ways by changing the labels on the Venn diagram: Slide
and Stack or Roll and Stack. The section created by the overlapping circles is always
labelled Both.
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Play Dough Figures
Materials
– a variety of three-dimensional figures (cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, rectangular
prism)
– play dough (see recipe below)
Have students create three-dimensional figures by using play dough. Provide threedimensional figures for students to look at to try to replicate.
Play Dough Recipe
Mix
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cooking oil
water
food colouring
Combine ingredients, using just enough water to allow the mixture
to be kneaded. Knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Tinytown
Materials
– Prop3D1.BLM5: Request for Packaging Materials (1 per student)
– scissors
– glue
– tape
– construction paper
– paint
– markers
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Brainstorm a list of structures that students could construct for Tinytown. Encourage
students to describe how they could use packaging materials to build these structures
(e.g., “I could use a shoebox to build a fire station”). Ask each student to choose a
structure to build for Tinytown.
Provide the necessary time for students to build their structures and to add details
using construction paper, paint, and markers.
Gather students to share their finished structures. Encourage students to identify
their structures (e.g., house, car, apartment, slide, bridge) and to explain how they used
three-dimensional figures to build them. Prepare an area in the room where Tinytown can
be assembled and displayed. Suggest that students paint roads and grassy areas on a
large sheet of mural paper.
Visit Tinytown with students and have them find, identify, and compare different
three-dimensional figures in the structures. Ask questions, such as the following:
• “What object is shaped like a cube? a cone? a sphere? a cylinder?”
• “What three-dimensional figures were used to make this structure?”
• “How are these two structures alike? How are they different?”
• “What is the most common figure found in Tinytown?”
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL FIGURES
Before this task, send home Prop3D1.BLM5: Request for Packaging Materials. Explain to
students that they will use the materials to create structures for Tinytown – a miniature
town with buildings, playgrounds, and vehicles.
103
Prop3D1.BLM1a
Figure Cards – Cube
Prop3D1.BLM1b
Figure Cards – Cone
Prop3D1.BLM1c
Figure Cards – Cylinder
Prop3D1.BLM1d
Figure Cards – Sphere
Prop3D1.BLM1e
Figure Cards - Rectangular Prism
Cones
Spheres
Cubes
Cylinders
Rectangular Prisms
Prop3D1.BLM2
Figure Finders
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about three-dimensional figures.
Help your child find examples at home of the three-dimensional figures
shown below. Have your child draw the objects that look like these figures.
Cones
Spheres
Cubes
Cylinders
Rectangular Prisms
Prop3D1.BLM3
3-D Is All Around Me
Cube
Cylinder
Sphere
Cone
Prop3D1.BLM4
Cards for Just Like Me in 3-D
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about three-dimensional figures, such as
the following:
Cube
Cone
Cylinder
We will be doing an activity in which students will be building a town
using three-dimensional figures.
You can help! We would appreciate it if you could collect empty
packaging materials that are three-dimensional figures and send them
to class with your child. For example, you could send such materials as
cardboard boxes, cartons, cereal boxes, and paper rolls.
Other three-dimensional figures, such as the following, will also be
used to create the structures. If you find one of these figures, share
the name with your child:
Triangle–Based
Pyramid
Rectangular
Prism
Square-Based
Pyramid
Triangular
Prism
Thank you in advance for the materials you are able to provide for our
math activity.
Prop3D1.BLM5
Request for Packaging Materials
Grade 1 Learning Activity: Geometric Relationships
BIG IDEA
Geometric Relationships
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify and describe common two-dimensional shapes (e.g., circles, triangles, rectangles,
squares) and sort and classify them by their attributes (e.g., colour; size; texture;
number of sides), using concrete materials and pictorial representations (e.g., “I put
all the triangles in one group. Some are long and skinny, and some are short and fat,
but they all have three sides.”);
• compose patterns, pictures, and designs, using common two-dimensional shapes
Sample problem: Create a picture of a flower using pattern blocks.);
(S
• identify and describe shapes within other shapes (e.g., shapes within a geometric
design);
• describe the relative locations of objects or people using positional language (e.g., over,
under, above, below, in front of, behind, inside, outside, beside, between, along).
MATERIALS
– pattern blocks (10 per student)
– overhead pattern blocks (if available)
– pattern block stickers, pattern block stamps, or copies of GeoRel1.BLM1a-f: Pattern
Block Shapes
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Pattern Block Pets
– glue
– crayons or markers to colour shapes if using GeoRel1.BLM1a-f: Pattern Block Shapes
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (1 sheet per student)
– GeoRel1.BLM2: First You, Then Me. How Many Triangles? Let’s See! (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Opportunities to compose and decompose shapes help students to develop their geometric
thinking and spatial sense. Through picture-making tasks using two-dimensional shapes,
students explore how shapes can be combined or taken apart to form new shapes.
The Pattern Block Pets learning activity allows students to use pattern blocks to create
a picture. After students create their pictures using pattern blocks, they are asked to
re-create the pictures using stickers, stamps, or paper cut-outs. Students may be at
different levels in their abilities to compose a picture (see pp. 26–28). For example, some
students may be at a piece-assembler stage: They create simple pictures in which each
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
105
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
pattern block represents part of the animal (e.g., a hexagon used for the animal’s head).
Other students may be at the picture-maker stage or the shape-composer stage and may
assemble more complex pictures (e.g., different pattern blocks used to create the face,
ears, eyes, and mouth).
An important aspect of this learning activity is students’ sharing of their pictures with
their classmates. This opportunity allows students to verbalize how they composed their
pictures. It gives other students a chance to view and consider examples of varying
complexity and to think about how they might increase the complexity of their own
pictures.
These kinds of tasks help students to reflect on how they combined the shapes and to
develop positional language (e.g., beside, above, next to) as they describe their
arrangement of pattern blocks to the other students.
GETTING STARTED
Have students sit in a circle. Place a large number of pattern blocks in the middle of the
circle. Ask each student to choose 10 pattern blocks and to place them on the floor in
front of them. Give students some time to explore their blocks, and then ask them to
show what they can do with the blocks (e.g., stack, sort, order by height, make a design,
create a picture).
Show students a simple picture in which each pattern block represents a different
object (e.g., Picture A below) and another picture in which pattern blocks are combined
to create an object (e.g., Picture B below). Discuss the differences between the
two pictures.
Picture A:
Sun, House, and Tree
Picture B:
A Lamp
Ask students to use their pattern blocks to create a picture of an object. Encourage
them to fit the pattern blocks together to form their picture.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Next, ask students to share their creations with a partner and to explain how they used
pattern blocks to make their picture.
WORKING ON IT
Create a picture of an animal by using pattern blocks on the overhead projector.
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
After students have finished making their pattern block pictures, choose one student’s
picture and re-create the pattern block arrangement on the overhead projector. (Use
overhead pattern blocks, if available.) Discuss how the pattern blocks have been
combined to form the different parts of the picture.
As you assemble the picture, identify the pattern blocks you are using. Explain how the
different shapes represent parts of the animal (e.g., a rhombus for the tail).
When you have finished the picture, ask students:
• “What shape is the body?”
• “Which pattern blocks did I use for the body?”
• “How did I use rhombuses in my picture?”
• “How did I make the head?”
• “Why do you think I chose rhombuses for the ears?”
Ask students to create Pattern Block Pets by arranging pattern blocks on sheets of
paper. When students have completed their pictures, have them create copies of their
pets on paper using pattern block stickers, pattern block stamps, or paper cut-outs from
GeoRel1.BLM1a-f: Pattern Block Shapes. If students use the paper cut-outs, they can
colour the shapes to match the pattern blocks.
After the task, save students’ Pattern Block Pets for use in Learning Connection 1.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
107
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Ask students to show the paper copies of their Pattern Block Pets to their classmates
and to explain how they created their pictures.
Encourage students to reflect on their work by asking:
• “What was easy about creating your Pattern Block Pet? What was difficult?”
• “What pattern blocks did you use for the head? the body? the legs? Why did you
choose these shapes?”
• “How did you use triangles in your picture?”
• “What pattern block shapes fit well together? Why?”
• “What shapes, other than pattern blocks, could you use to create a picture of a pet?”
• “If you made another pet, what would you do differently? Why?”
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty knowing how to combine shapes in their pictures.
For these students, demonstrate ways to combine pattern blocks to make larger shapes.
These students might benefit from working with a partner.
Some students may need to follow your oral directions as you guide them in making a
simple picture.
Challenge students to create complex pictures in which different objects in the picture
are made from pattern blocks.
Challenge students to find the value of their Pattern Block Pet. Assign a monetary value to
each type of pattern block (e.g., a triangle is worth two cents, a square is worth one cent,
a hexagon is worth six cents, a rhombus is worth four cents, and a trapezoid is worth
three cents). Have students calculate the cost of their pet. Allow students to use play
coin sets and calculators to help them.
MATH LANGUAGE
– triangle
– square
– rhombus
– hexagon
– trapezoid
positional language, such as:
– to the right of
– under
– above
– beside
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• Do they use individual pattern blocks to represent each body part? Or are they able
to combine pattern blocks to form parts of the picture (e.g., use two rhombuses to
represent a tail)?
• Do they use appropriate shapes to represent parts of the picture?
• Do they recognize how shapes fit together?
Ask students to explain how they made their Pattern Block Pets, and listen for correct
vocabulary and the use of appropriate positional language. Assess how well students
describe how they combined shapes to create larger shapes.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home GeoRel1.BLM2: First You, Then Me. How Many Triangles? Let’s See! This
Home Connection task provides an opportunity for students to observe how a large
triangle can be composed of smaller triangles.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
More Pattern Block Pets
Materials
– paper copies of students’ Pattern Block Pets (completed in Working on It)
– pattern blocks
– barrier (e.g., file folder, book) (1 per pair of students)
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
ASSESSMENT
Examine the complexity of students’ pictures to assess their picture-making skills.
Have students work in pairs. Explain that they will try to re-create their partner’s
picture with pattern blocks in one of two ways:
1. Students follow the visual example of their partner’s picture (i.e., they observe their
partner’s picture and place pattern blocks in the same arrangement).
2. Students follow oral instructions given by their partner. Students could place a
barrier (e.g., file folder, book) between them so that the student following the oral
instructions is unable to see the completed picture.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Flower Power
Materials
– spinner made with GeoRel1.BLM3: Flower Power Spinner, a paper clip, and a pencil
(1 spinner per group of students)
– GeoRel1.BLM4: Flower Power Game Board (1 per student)
– pattern blocks
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
109
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Have students play Flower Power in groups of three or four. Tell students to take turns
spinning the spinner on GeoRel1.BLM3: Flower Power Spinner to determine which pattern
block to place on their Flower Power game board on GeoRel1.BLM4: Flower Power Game
Board. Explain that if the spinner indicates a pattern block shape that cannot be placed
anywhere on a player’s game board, the turn passes to the next player. The game is
finished when a player fills his or her game board with pattern blocks.
Variations of this game are possible:
1. Players may not move pattern blocks once they have been placed on their game board.
2. Players may move pattern blocks on their game board in order to accommodate new
blocks as they are added.
3. One player spins and all players have to use that block.
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Circus Shapes
Materials
– Circus Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy or a similar book about shapes
– KidPix (Ministry-licensed software)
– computer(s)
Read Circus Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy (New York: HarperTrophy, 1998), if available,
or another book about shapes. After reading the book, discuss shapes found in the book
and the ways that the illustrator used the shapes to support the story.
Have students use KidPix to create their own pictures using a variety of shapes. Print
these pictures and compile them to make a class book. Have students record sentences
about the pictures they create.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Tangram Puzzles
Materials
– GeoRel1.BLM5a-e: Tangram Puzzles (1 set per student)
– sets of tangram pieces (1 set per student)
Have students use a set of tangram pieces to fill in the outlines on GeoRel1.BLM5a–e:
Tangram Puzzles.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Millie’s Math House Shape Game
Materials
– Millie’s Math House (Ministry-licensed software)
– computer(s)
On the opening screen, have students click the house made of shapes. This option takes
students to a section of the program that allows them to create pictures using twodimensional shapes. There are three kinds of tasks:
1. Students can drag two-dimensional shapes from the menu on the left onto complex
pictures consisting of outlines.
2. Students can use a greater number of shapes to cover outlines that are more complex,
that is, outlines that require more shapes and shapes that have different attributes
(e.g., different sizes) from those in the first task.
3. Students can create their own pictures using available shapes.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
LEARNING CONNECTION 5
111
GeoRel1.BLM1a
Pattern Block Shapes – Hexagons
GeoRel1.BLM1b
Pattern Block Shapes – Triangles
GeoRel1.BLM1c
Pattern Block Shapes – Trapezoids
GeoRel1.BLM1d
Pattern Block Shapes – Squares
GeoRel1.BLM1e
Pattern Block Shapes – Large Rhombuses
GeoRel1.BLM1f
Pattern Block Shapes – Small Rhombuses
How Many Triangles? Let’s See!
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Try this activity with your child. Together, use toothpicks (or drinking
straws) to build a triangular arrangement. Start by making a small
triangle with three toothpicks.
Next, you and your child take turns adding toothpicks to the triangular
arrangement. Continue to add toothpicks until you have created a
triangular arrangement like the one pictured below.
Ask your child to estimate the number of small triangles in the triangular
arrangement. Then have your child count the small triangles to check
his or her estimate.
Now take turns removing the toothpicks, one at a time. As each
toothpick is removed, keep track of the number of small triangles
that are still in the arrangement.
GeoRel1.BLM2
First You, Then Me.
Make a spinner using this page, a paper clip, and a pencil.
GeoRel1.BLM3
Flower Power Spinner
GeoRel1.BLM4
Flower Power Game Board
What am I?
Cover this puzzle with all seven tangram pieces.
GeoRel1.BLM5a
Tangram Puzzles
What am I?
Cover this puzzle with all seven tangram pieces.
GeoRel1.BLM5b
Tangram Puzzles
What am I?
Cover this puzzle with all seven tangram pieces.
GeoRel1.BLM5c
Tangram Puzzles
What am I?
Cover this puzzle with all seven tangram pieces.
GeoRel1.BLM5d
Tangram Puzzles
What am I?
Cover this puzzle with all seven tangram pieces.
GeoRel1.BLM5e
Tangram Puzzles
Grade 1 Learning Activity: Location and Movement
BIG IDEA
Location and Movement
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• describe the relative locations of objects or people using positional language
(e.g., over, under, above, below, in front of, behind, inside, outside, beside,
between, along );
• create symmetrical designs and pictures, using concrete materials (e.g., pattern
blocks, connecting cubes, paper for folding), and describe the relative locations
of the parts.
MATERIALS
– symmetrical pictures, designs, and logos (on clothing, wallpaper, fabric, etc.)
– non-symmetrical pictures, designs, and logos
– ruler
– Loc1.BLM1: Line of Symmetry (1 per student)
– 1 transparency of Loc1.BLM1: Line of Symmetry
– pattern blocks (each student must have same set as teacher)
– overhead projector
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Simply Symmetrical
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (1 sheet per student)
– pattern block stickers, pattern block stamps, or copies of Loc1.BLM2a–f: Pattern
Block Shapes
– glue
– Loc1.BLM3a-c: Symmetry Memory (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Young students are intrigued by the symmetrical designs and pictures they observe
in their environment. In Grade 1, students can describe symmetry in simple terms.
They might explain, for example, that symmetry is like “looking in a mirror” because
one half of a picture or design is the same as the other.
The following tasks provide students with experiences that allow them to develop an
understanding of a line of symmetry. As students find, create, and discuss symmetrical
designs, they learn to recognize that a line of symmetry separates the design into
two parts, and they begin to understand that one part is the reflection, or mirror image,
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
113
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
of the other. As students create and discuss symmetrical designs, they recognize the
symmetry in their creations and use positional language (e.g., beside, above, next to)
to communicate the arrangement of symmetrical parts in their designs.
GETTING STARTED
Show students some symmetrical pictures, designs, and logos. Fold, draw a line, or use
a ruler to show the line of symmetry on each picture, design, or logo. Ask students to
describe what you are doing and what they notice. Discuss with students the idea of
symmetry (i.e., how one half of the picture, design, or logo matches the other half).
Next, show some pictures, designs, and logos that are not symmetrical. Repeat the
process of trying to fold, draw, or use a ruler to determine symmetry. Ask students to
describe what they notice. Have them explain how they know that the pictures, designs,
and logos are non-symmetrical.
Provide students with pattern blocks, and give each student a copy of Loc1.BLM1: Line
of Symmetry. Place a transparency of the same page on the overhead projector. Set a
pattern block on one side of the line of symmetry on the transparency. Instruct students
to place the same type of pattern block on their papers to match the position of the
pattern block on the overhead. Next, ask a student to place another pattern block on
the overhead projector to demonstrate symmetry. Instruct students to do the same
on their paper.
Remove the first two blocks. Place a different pattern block on one side of the line of
symmetry on the overhead projector, and direct students to place the same block on
their page to match the position on the overhead. Then ask students to set another block
on their page to demonstrate symmetry.
Repeat the task using different pattern blocks. Gradually increase the number of
pattern blocks, placing two, three, and four blocks on one side of the line of symmetry.
Challenge students to complete the symmetrical design on their sheet of paper.
Have students check their work by comparing their designs with ones you complete on
the overhead. Occasionally, place a shape in an incorrect position so that your design is
not symmetrical. Ask students to explain how they know whether the block designs are
symmetrical.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Next, have students change places and complete the design their partner started so that
the completed design is symmetrical. Ask students to examine each other’s completed
designs to check that they are symmetrical.
Allow students to repeat the task using different arrangements of pattern blocks.
Before concluding the task, have students re-create one of their symmetrical designs on
a sheet of paper using pattern block stamps, pattern block stickers, or shapes cut from
Loc2.BLM2a–f: Pattern Block Shapes.
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
WORKING ON IT
Arrange students in pairs. Instruct each student to select up to five pattern blocks and
to place them along one side of the line of symmetry on Loc1.BLM1: Line of Symmetry.
Encourage students to arrange the blocks so that sides are touching.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Have students show their designs to classmates, and ask them to describe the symmetry
in their work. Ask students the following questions:
• “What shapes do you see in this design?”
• “Why is this design symmetrical? How can you show that it is symmetrical?”
• “What was difficult about making your design symmetrical?”
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty creating and describing designs as the number of
pattern blocks increases. For these students, suggest that they use only a few pattern
blocks to make simple symmetrical designs.
Challenge students to use a small plastic container to scoop pattern blocks from a large
bin. Instruct students to create a symmetrical design using as many of the scooped
pattern blocks as possible.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
115
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
MATH LANGUAGE
– symmetrical
– non-symmetrical
– line of symmetry
– triangle
– square
– rhombus
– trapezoid
– hexagon
positional language, such as:
– above
– beside
– to the right of
– between
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they demonstrate an understanding of symmetry.
• Can students describe symmetrical pictures, designs, and logos, and explain why they
are symmetrical?
• Are students able to place pattern blocks on both sides of a line to demonstrate
symmetry?
• Can students describe their symmetrical designs using appropriate positional language
(e.g., beside, above, between)?
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Loc.1BLM3a-c: Symmetry Memory. This Home Connection game helps students
to recognize symmetrical shapes.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Symmetrical Mosaic Designs
Materials
– neon-coloured paper (or construction paper) squares of different sizes and different
colours
– glue
– scissors
– black construction paper (1 sheet per pair of students)
Have pairs of students work together to create a symmetrical mosaic design using shapes cut
from neon-coloured paper (or construction paper) and glued onto black construction paper.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
To begin, explain that one student glues a shape (e.g., a pink triangle) on one side of the
line of symmetry, and the partner glues the same shape (a pink triangle) on the other
side of the line to create a symmetrical design. Have partners take turns until they finish
their symmetrical mosaic design.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Monster Mash
Materials
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (1 per student)
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Instruct students to fold the black construction paper in half to create a line of
symmetry before gluing on the shapes. Allow students to use square shapes or to cut the
squares into triangles.
– paint
– paintbrushes
– markers
– scissors
Have students fold a sheet of paper in half to create a line of symmetry. Tell students to
unfold the paper and use a paintbrush to dab different colours of paint on only one side
of the line of symmetry. Next, have students fold the paper again along the line of
symmetry and mash the paint to create their picture. Tell students to open the paper
carefully to see the monster they have created. Ask students to describe the symmetry
in their monsters.
Allow students to outline and decorate their monsters using markers, and then cut out
the monsters.
Appendix B: Grade 1 Learning Activities
117
GRADE 1 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Hoops Here, There, and Everywhere
Materials
– hoops (1 per student)
Do this task in the gymnasium. Provide each student with a hoop. Instruct students to find
a place in which they have room to move and use their hoop without touching anyone else.
Provide oral instructions that promote students’ understanding of positional language:
• “Place your hoop above your head.”
• “Stand inside your hoop.”
• “Stand beside your hoop.”
• “Twirl your hoop beside you on the right.”
• “Jump in and out of your hoop.”
• “Hop, skip, or jump around the outside of your hoop.”
• “Find a partner and put your hoops beside each other’s.”
• “Put your hoops on top of each other’s.”
Provide opportunities for students to give directions to their classmates.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Follow Me and Then We’ll See
Materials
– pattern blocks
– barrier (e.g., file folder, book)
Create a simple design with pattern blocks behind a barrier (e.g., file folder, book) so
that students do not see what you are doing. Give students oral directions to re-create
the design. For example, you might say, “Place a hexagon in the middle of your paper.
Place a triangle on the right side of the hexagon. Place a triangle on left side of the
hexagon.”
When all the directions have been given, have students examine their classmates’ work
for similarities and differences. Encourage students to discuss possible reasons for any
differences. Show students the design you created and described.
Provide opportunities for individual students to create a pattern block design and to give
oral instructions to classmates on how to re-create it.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Loc1.BLM1
Line of Symmetry
Loc1.BLM2a
Pattern Block Shapes – Hexagons
Loc1.BLM2b
Pattern Block Shapes – Triangles
Loc1.BLM2c
Pattern Block Shapes – Trapezoids
Loc1.BLM2d
Pattern Block Shapes – Squares
Loc1.BLM2e
Pattern Block Shapes – Large Rhombuses
Loc1.BLM2f
Pattern Block Shapes – Small Rhombuses
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about symmetry.
A shape is symmetrical if one half of the shape is a mirror image
of the other half.
Play the Symmetry Memory game with your child. Cut out the cards
on the attached sheets of paper. Each card contains half a picture.
Shuffle the cards and place them face down in a row in front of your
child and you.
Take turns flipping over two cards. If a player turns over two cards
that can be put together to make a symmetrical shape, the player
keeps both cards. If the cards do not make a symmetrical shape, the
player turns them over again so that each card is in its original position.
The game is finished when all cards have been matched.
Loc1.BLM3a
Symmetry Memory
Loc1.BLM3b
Symmetry Memory Cards
Loc1.BLM3c
Symmetry Memory Cards
C.
Appendix Contents
Grade 2
Learning Activities
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Polygons on Parade . . . . . . . . 121
Blackline masters: Prop2D2.BLM1 – Prop2D2.BLM4
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: Build It in 3-D . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Blackline masters: Prop3D2.BLM1 – Prop3D2.BLM2
Geometric Relationships: Geometry Exploration Centres
Blackline masters: GeoRel2.BLM1 – GeoRel2.BLM9
Location and Movement: Are We There Yet?
Blackline masters: Loc2.BLM1 – Loc2.BLM4
. . . . . . . . . . 135
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Grade 2 Learning Activity: Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
BIG IDEA
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify and describe various polygons (i.e., triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons,
hexagons, heptagons, octagons) and sort and classify them by their geometric
properties (i.e., number of sides or number of vertices), using concrete materials and
pictorial representations (e.g., “I put all the figures with five or more vertices in one
group, and all the figures with fewer than five vertices in another group.”).
MATERIALS
– 5 x 5 geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (elastic bands) (1 per student)
– Prop2D2.BLM1: Polygons on Parade (1 per student)
– pencils
– rulers (1 per student)
– Prop2D2.BLM2: Plenty of Polygons (1 per student)
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (optional) (1 sheet per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
In the primary grades, many students operate at the visualization level of geometric
thought. (See van Hiele’s levels of geometric thought, p. 12) Students at the visualization
level identify shapes solely by their appearance (e.g., they identify a triangle as a triangle
because it looks like one). With varied experiences identifying and sorting two-dimensional
shapes, and examining shapes and their properties (e.g., number of sides, number of
vertices, number and type of angles), students progress towards the analysis level.
Students learn that if a shape belongs to a particular class, then the shape has the
properties of that class (e.g., all squares have four congruent sides and four right angles).
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Polygons on Parade
At the analysis level, students begin to understand that two-dimensional shapes can be
grouped together based on their common properties. To achieve this level of thinking,
young students must have many opportunities to explore two-dimensional shapes and
identify and discuss their properties.
In the Getting Started section, students learn that a polygon is a closed shape with
only straight sides. Students construct polygons on geoboards and then observe how
the teacher sorts the geoboard shapes according to number of sides. Discussions about
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
121
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
the number of sides on polygons provide opportunities for students to use such terms
as triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, and hexagon and to make the terms more meaningful
by learning the properties of these two-dimensional shapes (e.g., all pentagons have
five sides).
In Working on It, students construct polygons using geoboards and copy the shapes
onto dot paper. After classifying the polygons according to the number of sides,
students observe that all polygons within a category (e.g., all triangles) share a
common property (the same number of sides) but that the polygons in a class can
vary in form (i.e., some triangles have two equal sides, and others do not).
GETTING STARTED
Organize students in a circle. Provide each student with a geoboard and a geoband.
Have students create a shape on their geoboards following these rules:
• The shape can have only straight sides.
• The geoband cannot cross over itself.
After completing their shapes, students place their geoboards in the middle of the
circle. Inform students that all the shapes they have created are polygons. Ask students
to explain what they think “polygon” means. Clarify that a polygon is a closed shape that
has only straight sides.
Select all the geoboard shapes that have three sides, and set these geoboards apart
from the others. Ask students to examine the polygons that have been set apart and
to determine what the shapes have in common. Discuss how all the triangles have
three sides even though the triangles may have different forms.
Next, select the geoboards that show quadrilaterals (e.g., squares, rectangles,
parallelograms, trapezoids, rhombuses). Set these geoboards apart from the others,
and ask students to determine why these shapes were grouped together. Clarify that
all these polygons are quadrilaterals because they have four sides.
Repeat the sorting task for pentagons and hexagons. If there is time, repeat the sorting
task for heptagons and octagons.
WORKING ON IT
Provide each student with a copy of Prop2D2.BLM1: Polygons on Parade, a geoboard, and a
geoband. Challenge students to create a polygon on their geoboards for the first section
of Prop2D2.BLM1: Polygons on Parade (i.e., a triangle). Demonstrate how to copy a geoboard
shape onto dot paper by matching geoboard pins to the dots on the dot paper and using a
pencil and ruler to draw the sides of the polygon. Challenge students to create geoboard
polygons for the other sections of Prop2D2.BLM1: Polygons on Parade.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Ask students to examine the groups in the Polygon Parade and to look for shapes that
were not placed in the correct part of the parade. Discuss why these shapes should be
placed in a different group.
After students have corrected any sorting errors, have students describe similarities
and differences among the polygons in each group. Emphasize that all polygons within
a group have the same number of sides but that the forms of the polygons can vary
(e.g., all pentagons have five sides, but the sides can be different lengths).
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Discuss the task, and encourage students to reflect on what they have learned by asking
questions, such as:
• “What was challenging for you in this task? Why?”
• “What strategies did you use to copy your geoboard polygons onto the dot paper?”
• “How did you know which group to place each polygon into?”
• “How are all the polygons in this group alike?”
• “Are there congruent polygons? How do you know that the polygons are congruent?”
(The have the same size and the same shape.)
• “How are the polygons in this group different from the polygons in other groups?”
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty recording geoboard shapes on dot paper. Allow these
students to draw the shapes on blank sheets of paper.
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
When students have created and recorded all the polygons, have them cut Prop2D2.BLM1:
Polygons on Parade into its six sections. Organize a Polygon Parade by asking students
to place the section with each kind of polygon in a designated area in the classroom
(e.g., triangles posted on a bulletin board, quadrilaterals taped to the door).
Challenge students to create a triangle (quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon) on their
geoboard with a specified number of pins inside of it (e.g., create a triangle that has
three pins inside it).
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
123
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
MATH LANGUAGE
– polygon
– triangle
– quadrilateral
– square
– rectangle
– trapezoid
– parallelogram
– rhombus
– pentagon
– hexagon
– heptagon
– octagon
– congruent
– vertex/vertices (corner/corners)
– quadrilaterals
- angle
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• identify various polygons (e.g., triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons);
• create specific polygons on a geoboard;
• copy geoboard shapes onto dot paper;
• explain properties of triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, and
octagons (i.e., the number of sides);
• describe polygons;
• compare polygons.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop2D2.BLM2: Plenty of Polygons. In this Home Connection task, students
work with parents/guardians to create specific polygons by using a pencil and ruler.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
What’s My Sort?
Materials
– resealable plastic bag containing all the shapes from Prop2D2.BLM3a-d: Polygons
(1 bag per pair of students)
– glue
– large sheets of paper (1 per pair of students)
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Have students explain their sorting rule. Ask:
• “What is your sorting rule?”
• “Why did you place this polygon in this group?”
• “How are these two polygons alike?”
• “How are these two polygons different?”
Ask students to sort the polygons a few more times, using a different sorting rule each time.
Encourage students to explore sorting rules other than the number of sides. For example,
students could sort the polygons in these ways:
• polygons with a square corner and those with no square corner;
• polygons with equal side lengths and polygons with unequal side lengths;
• long, narrow polygons and short, wide polygons.
After students have sorted the polygons a few times, ask them to choose one sorting
rule and to sort the polygons according to this rule. Have them glue the polygons onto
paper to show their final sort. Allow pairs of students to show their paper to their
classmates, who try to determine what sorting rule was used.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
What’s the Same?
Materials
– a variety of paper shapes (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons; shapes
should be large enough for students to see in this group task)
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Have students work with a partner, and provide each pair with a bag containing the
shapes from Prop2D2.BLM3a-d: Polygons. Have students empty their bags and place the
shapes in front of them. Ask students to work with their partner to sort the polygons
according to a rule of their choice.
Gather students in a circle. Have a variety of paper shapes in the middle of the circle.
Ask a student to pick up a shape and name it. Then, have another student select a different
shape that is like the first shape in some way. The second student should explain how the
shapes are alike. For example, if the first student selects a right-angled triangle, the
second could choose a rectangle, because both shapes have at least one square corner.
Students may find more than one way in which the selected shapes are alike.
Continue having students choose shapes and explain how they are alike.
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
125
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
126
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Shape Snap
Materials
– Prop2D2.BLM4a-d: Shape Cards (2 sets of per pair of students; 1 set includes all cards
from the four blackline masters)
Provide each pair of students with two sets of shape cards from Prop2D2.BLM4a-d:
Shape Cards. Tell students to shuffle the cards and deal them face down. When the deck
has been dealt, have students stack the cards and hold them face down in one hand.
Explain that both players say “Go” and flip over the top card from their stack.
If the cards show different kinds of shapes, tell students to flip the next card in their
stack. If both students flip over cards with the same kind of shape, instruct students
to say “snap”. (The two shapes do not have to be identical, only the same kind of shape,
for example, two triangles.) The first player to say “snap” on a correct match takes
both cards.
When students run out of cards, have them combine the cards, shuffle, and play again.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Shape Concentration
Materials
– Prop2D2.BLM4a-d: Shape Cards (1 set of 24 cards per pair of students)
Have students shuffle the cards from Prop2D2.BLM4a–d: Shape Cards, and place them
face down in a four by six array:
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Tell students that the game is finished when all cards have been matched.
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Explain that players take turns flipping over two cards. If the cards show the same kind
of shape, the player keeps both cards. (The two shapes do not have to be identical, only
the same kind of shape, for example, two triangles.) If the cards do not match, the
player turns them over again in the same places.
127
Triangle
Quadrilateral
Pentagon
Hexagon
Heptagon
Octagon
Prop2D2.BLM1
Polygons on Parade
Prop2D2.BLM2
Plenty of Polygons
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about polygons in math. Polygons are closed
shapes with only straight sides. Polygons have different names
depending on the number of sides they have.
Triangles
Quadrilaterals
Pentagons
Hexagons
Heptagons
Octagons
Ask your child to explain what he or she knows about each kind of
polygon. Encourage your child to talk about the number of sides each
polygon has.
Have your child use a pencil and ruler to draw shapes with three to
eight sides. Ask your child to tell you the kind of polygon he or she
drew.
Draw some shapes with three to eight sides, and ask your child to
identify them.
Thank you for helping your child to learn about polygons.
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D2.BLM3a
Polygons
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D2.BLM3b
Polygons
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D2.BLM3c
Polygons
Shapes can be photocopied onto card stock or cut from foam core, plastic, or wood.
Prop2D2.BLM3d
Polygons
Prop2D2.BLM4a
Shape Cards
Prop2D2.BLM4b
Shape Cards
Prop2D2.BLM4c
Shape Cards
Prop2D2.BLM4d
Shape Cards
Grade 2 Learning Activity: Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
BIG IDEA
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify and describe various three-dimensional figures (i.e., cubes, prisms, pyramids)
and sort and classify them by their geometric properties (i.e., number and shape of
faces), using concrete materials. (e.g., “I separated the figures that have square faces
from the ones that don’t.”);
• create models and skeletons of prisms and pyramids, using concrete materials
(e.g., cardboard; straws and modelling clay), and describe their geometric properties
(i.e., number and shape of faces, number of edges).
MATERIALS
– skeleton of rectangular prism made with drinking straws and clumps of modelling clay
– solid three-dimensional figures (cubes, rectangular prisms, triangular prisms, squarebased pyramids, triangle-based pyramids) (1 figure per student or small group)
– chart paper
– marker
– drinking straws (whole and half lengths)
– modelling clay
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Build It in 3-D
– index cards or pieces of paper (1 per student)
– paper bags (1 per student)
– paper clips (1 per student)
– Prop3D2.BLM1: Building Skeletons (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Before Grade 2, students identify the two-dimensional faces of three-dimensional figures.
Students learn, for example, that the faces of a triangular prism are two triangles and
three rectangles. (These rectangles can be squares.)
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
129
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
The following task promotes a deeper understanding of the properties of three-dimensional
figures by focusing students’ attention on the edges of the figures. Students examine
and construct skeletons of three-dimensional figures in which drinking straws represent
the edges and then create riddles to describe the skeletons. By constructing skeletons
and creating riddles about their constructions, students have opportunities to think
about the number of edges on various figures and to observe the relative lengths and
positions of the edges.
GETTING STARTED
Show students the skeleton of a rectangular prism made from drinking straws held
together with small clumps of modelling clay. Place the skeleton next to a solid
rectangular prism. Ask students:
• “How are these two figures the same?”
• “How are these two figures different?”
• “Which figure is a skeleton of a rectangular prism? Why is it called a skeleton?”
(The drinking straws are like the bones of the figure.)
• “What parts of the figure does the skeleton show?” (edges and vertices)
• “What part of the figure do the drinking straws show?” (edges)
Have students estimate the number of drinking straws that were used to build the
skeleton. Dismantle the skeleton and count the drinking straws. Highlight that some
drinking straws are long and some are short.
Show students how to create a riddle about the skeleton of a rectangular prism by
recording the following information on chart paper:
• The figure has 12 straws altogether.
• It has 4 long straws.
• It has 8 short straws.
• It has 8 joiners.
• What is it?
Next, show a solid square-based pyramid and ask students, ”How could you create a
skeleton of a square-based pyramid using drinking straws and small clumps of modelling
clay?” Students might say that they could count the edges on the figure and decide
whether they need long or short straws.
Have students select a solid three-dimensional figure. Instruct them to use drinking
straws and modelling clay to build its skeleton.
130
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• “How are all the skeletons alike?”
• “How are the skeletons the same as the solid three-dimensional figures? How are the
skeletons different from the solids?”
• “What was easy about constructing the skeletons? What was difficult?”
Next, have students dismantle their skeletons and record a riddle about the skeleton on
an index card. Students can follow the example of the riddle for a rectangular prism on
the chart paper.
After students have composed their riddles, have them reassemble their skeletons,
place them in paper bags, and attach the riddle cards to the bags with paper clips.
WORKING ON IT
Have students exchange riddle bags with a partner. Ask them to read their partner’s
riddle and use it to build the same skeleton using drinking straws and small clumps of
modelling clay.
After students build their skeletons, have them remove their partner’s skeleton from
the paper bag and compare the two skeletons. If they do not match, have students make
the necessary changes so that the two skeletons are congruent.
Have students select a different partner, trade riddle bags, and construct and compare
skeletons.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
After students have constructed several skeletons by following the riddle clues, ask
questions, such as the following:
• “What was easy about constructing the skeletons? What was difficult?”
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
After students have completed their skeletons, invite students to show their skeletons
to the class and to explain how they constructed the skeletons. Ask questions, such as:
• “How are the skeletons like the solid three-dimensional figures? How are the
skeletons different from the solids?”
• “Which figure has the fewest edges? How many edges does it have?”
• “Which figure has the most edges? How many edges does it have?”
• “Which figure has edges that are all the same length?”
• “Which figure has edges that are different lengths?”
• “Which figure has edges that form a square (triangle, rectangle)?”
• “What did you learn about three-dimensional figures from this task?”
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
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GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulties understanding the riddle or constructing the
skeleton. It may be easier for these students to construct the skeleton of a cube rather
than of other prisms or of pyramids. Ask students to assist their partners if necessary.
Challenge students by having them create skeletons of objects (e.g., a building, a tent).
MATH LANGUAGE
– three-dimensional figure
– skeleton
– edge
– face
– cube
– rectangular prism
– triangular prism
– square-based pyramid
– triangle-based pyramid
– rectangle
– triangle
– square
- congruent
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• describe three-dimensional figures using appropriate mathematical language;
• create skeletons using the riddle clues;
• describe the number and length of the edges of three-dimensional figures;
• compare skeletons and solids of three-dimensional figures.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop3D2.BLM1: Building Skeletons. In this Home Connection task, students
and their parents/guardians build skeletons of three-dimensional figures using materials
found at home.
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What Am I?
Materials
– Prop3D2.BLM2: What Am I? (1 shape card per student)
– string
– paper punch
Make “What Am I?” necklaces using string, a paper punch, and the shape cards from
Prop3D2.BLM2: What Am I?
Cube
Place a “What Am I?” necklace around each student’s neck, with the picture of the
three-dimensional figure hanging on the student’s back. Tell students that they must try
to determine the figure on their own necklace by asking classmates questions that they
can answer with only “yes” or “no”. For example, students might ask:
• “Do I roll?”
• “Do I have any rectangular faces?”
• “Are all my faces the same shape?”
• “Do I have eight edges?”
Allow students to walk around the classroom and ask questions of their classmates until
they are able to determine the three-dimensional figure on their necklace.
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
After the task, ask questions, such as the following:
• “What questions helped you identify your three-dimensional figure?”
• “Could you identify your figure if you could ask only one question? Why or why not?”
• “What was easy about this task?”
• “What was difficult about this task?”
• “How did you know which three-dimensional figure you had on your necklace?”
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
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GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Where Does It Go?
Materials
– a large assortment of solid three-dimensional figures
Provide small groups of students with a large assortment of solid three-dimensional
figures. Ask students to sort the figures according to a sorting rule of their choice.
As students sort the figures, ask them questions, such as:
• “What is your sorting rule?”
• “How are all these figures alike? What properties do they share?”
• “In which group should you place this figure?”
• “In what other ways could you sort these figures?”
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Chain Game
Materials
– a large assortment of solid three-dimensional figures (traditional and non-traditional)
(at least 1 figure per student)
Have students sit in a circle. Place a large assortment of solid three-dimensional figures
in the middle of the circle. Choose a three-dimensional figure (e.g., a cube) and place it in
front of you. Ask the student sitting beside you to select another three-dimensional figure
that shares a property with your figure (e.g., a square-based pyramid). Ask students to
identify the property that the figures have in common (e.g., both figures have a square
face). Continue to develop the chain of figures by having each student, in turn, add a
three-dimensional figure that shares a property with the previous one.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Guess My Figure
Ask students to think of a three-dimensional figure. Invite students to describe their
figure to classmates using only gestures. For example, if a student chooses a square-based
pyramid, he or she could draw four triangles and a square in the air using a finger.
Alternatively, have students draw the faces of a figure on paper or the board and
challenge their classmates to identify the figure.
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Prop3D2.BLM1
Building Skeletons
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about three-dimensional figures. Here are
the figures we have been investigating:
Cube
Rectangular Prism
Triangle-Based Pyramid
Triangular Prism
Square-Based Pyramid
We have been building skeletons of these
three-dimensional figures using drinking
straws for the edges and clumps of modelling
clay for the joiners.
Look around your home for other materials that you and your child
could use to build skeletons of three-dimensional figures. Try using
toothpicks or spaghetti for the edges and miniature marshmallows
for the joiners.
Have fun building skeletons of three-dimensional figures!
Prop3D2.BLM2
What Am I?
Triangular Prism
Square-Based Pyramid
Cube
Rectangular Prism
Triangle-Based Pyramid
Cube
Grade 2 Learning Activity: Geometric Relationships
BIG IDEA
Geometric Relationships
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify and describe various three-dimensional figures (i.e., cubes, prisms, pyramids)
and sort and classify them by their geometric properties (i.e., number and shape of
faces), using concrete materials (e.g., “I separated the figures that have square faces
from the ones that don’t.”);
• compose and describe pictures, designs, and patterns by combining two-dimensional
shapes (e.g., “I made a picture of a flower from one hexagon and six equilateral
triangles.”);
Sample problem: Use Power Polygons
• compose and decompose two-dimensional shapes (S
to show if you can compose a rectangle from two triangles of different sizes.);
• cover an outline puzzle with two-dimensional shapes in more than one way;
• build a structure using three-dimensional figures, and describe the two-dimensional
shapes and three-dimensional figures in the structure (e.g., “I used a box that looks
like a triangular prism to build the roof of my house.”).
MATERIALS
– GeoRel2.BLM1: Request for Packaging Materials (1 per student)
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Geometry Exploration Centres
– cereal box for demonstration
– boxes (1 for each student)
– chart paper
– GeoRel2.BLM4a-b: Quick Views (1 per student)
Centre 1
– a variety of packaging materials, such as boxes, paper towel rolls, and cartons
(brought in by students from home)
– sticky notes or strips of paper
– glue
– tape
– markers/pencil crayons
– card stock (optional)
Centre 2
– Polydron sets or Frameworks
– GeoRel2.BLM2a-c: Polydron Cards (1 set per group)
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
135
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Centre 3
– GeoRel2.BLM3a-d: Tangram Puzzles (1 set per student)
– sets of tangram pieces (1 set per student)
– paper (optional)
– pencil (optional)
– sticky notes or scraps of paper and tape
Centre 4
– Polydron sets or Frameworks
– pencils
– blank sheets of paper
– crayons/markers
– scissors
– stick tack or tape
– envelopes (optional)
ABOUT THE MATH
For students to understand geometric relationships, they need opportunities to compose
(put together) and decompose (take apart) two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
objects. These experiences deepen students’ understanding of how two-dimensional
shapes are related to one another and to three-dimensional figures.
In Getting Started, students unfold boxes and identify and discuss the two-dimensional
faces of three-dimensional figures.
The four tasks in Working on It provide students with other opportunities to explore
geometric relationships:
Centre 1: Sculptures from Scraps
At this centre, students create sculptures by gluing and taping different threedimensional packaging materials together and explore how structures can be made
from three-dimensional figures.
Centre 2: Polydron Party
The task at this centre allows students to recognize the two-dimensional faces of
three-dimensional figures by constructing figures using Polydron pieces.
Centre 3: Tangram Puzzles
At this centre, students use tangram puzzles to explore how larger two-dimensional
shapes can be composed of smaller ones.
Centre 4: Party Clothes
In this task, students trace around the faces of three-dimensional figures to investigate
the shapes of the faces.
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Show students a cereal box and ask them to explain how they think the box is put
together (e.g., where tabs are glued). Demonstrate how to unfold a box by releasing its
tabs. Provide students each with a box, and instruct them to unfold it carefully. Ask
students to show their unfolded box to the class and to identify the two-dimensional
shapes they recognize in the unfolded box. Have students label the shapes they identify
on their unfolded boxes. Record terms, such as square, rectangle, and triangle, on the
board or chart paper for students’ reference.
WORKING ON IT
Explain to students that they will be working on tasks involving two-dimensional shapes
and three-dimensional figures at four different centres. Clarify the four tasks with
the whole class. Have students visit the centres in small groups.
Centre 1: Sculptures from Scraps
Ask students to build sculptures using packaging materials (e.g., boxes, paper towel rolls,
cartons). Have them print the name of each three-dimensional figure in their sculptures
on a sticky note or strip of paper and stick the names to the figure. Allow students to
present their sculptures to the class and to explain how they constructed them.
Centre 2: Polydron Party
In this game for two to four players, students build three-dimensional figures using
Polydron pieces. (Allow students to build skeletal models if Frameworks is available.)
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
GETTING STARTED
Before this task begins, send home GeoRel2.BLM1: Request for Packaging Materials.
Have students shuffle the game cards from GeoRel2.BLM2a-c: Polydron Cards and place
them face down in a pile. Explain that players take turns choosing a card from the pile
and selecting the corresponding Polydron piece. As students collect Polydron pieces, have
them try to recognize three-dimensional figures that they could build with their pieces.
For example, after accumulating a square and two triangles, a student might recognize
that he or she could construct a square-based pyramid or a triangular prism once he or
she has more pieces.
As the game proceeds and students gather more Polydron pieces, ask them to determine
a specific figure that they want to build. The game is finished when a player constructs
a three-dimensional figure. Explain that students do not have to use all their collected
Polydron pieces in their figure.
Centre 3: Tangram Puzzles
Instruct students to use a set of tangram pieces to cover the outlines on GeoRel2.BLM3a-d:
Tangram Puzzles. When students complete a puzzle, have them trace around the tans
inside the outline on the blackline master. Ask students to print the name of the shape
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
137
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
(e.g., triangle, square) inside each tan. If students are unfamiliar with the parallelogram,
allow them to label it as a quadrilateral.
Centre 4: Party Clothes
Have students create three-dimensional figures using Frameworks or Polydron pieces.
To make “clothes” for their figures, instruct students to use a pencil to trace around
each face on blank sheets of paper. Have them use crayons or markers to decorate the
shapes. Have students cut out the shapes and attach them to the figures using stick tack
or small rings of tape.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Discuss the tasks with students at the conclusion of each work session. Help students to
reflect on the geometric relationships they explored at the centres by asking questions,
such as:
• “What did you learn about shapes or figures today?”
• “What did you learn about the ways shapes and figures can be put together?”
• “What went well at your centre?”
• “What difficulties did you experience at your centre? What did you do to overcome
these difficulties?”
• “What advice would you give to someone who will work at your centre tomorrow?”
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may find the centre tasks difficult. These students may benefit from
working closely with a partner.
Challenge students at each centre:
Centre 1: Have students use card stock to assemble boxes that they combine to create
sculptures.
Centre 2: Have students select twelve pieces at random from a container of Polydron
pieces or Frameworks. Instruct them to try to assemble a three-dimensional figure using
any of the pieces they selected.
Centre 3: Have students create tangram puzzles by arranging the tangram pieces to
represent an object or animal and then tracing around the outside of the arrangement.
Centre 4: Have students place the “clothes” (decorated cut-out shapes) in an envelope.
Let students exchange envelopes with a partner, examine the shapes in their partner’s
envelope, and use Polydron pieces (or Frameworks) to construct a three-dimensional
figure that can wear the “clothes”.
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ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• identify and describe the various two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures;
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
MATH LANGUAGE
– two-dimensional shape
– triangle
– quadrilateral
– rectangle
– square
– side
– vertex/vertices (corner/corners)
– three-dimensional figure
– cube
– rectangular prism
– triangular prism
– square-based pyramid
– triangle-based pyramid
– cylinder
– cone
– face
– edge
• compare shapes and figures (e.g., “I can see four rectangles and two squares in this
rectangular prism”);
• build sculptures using three-dimensional materials and describe how they built the
sculptures;
• describe geometric relationships (e.g., how two or more shapes fit together to make
a larger shape);
• describe shapes and figures using appropriate mathematical language.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home GeoRel2.BLM4a–b: Quick Views. In this Home Connection task, students have
a few seconds to look at shape arrangements made by their parents/guardians. Students
then re-create the shape arrangements from memory.
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
139
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Shapely Silhouettes
Materials
– barrier (e.g., file folder, book)
– overhead projector
– three-dimensional figures
Use a barrier to block students’ view as you place a three-dimensional figure on the
overhead projector. Turn on the projector. Ask students to look at the projected shape
and to try to determine the three-dimensional figure. Have students give reasons for
their conjectures. For example, if you place a cylinder on the projector and students see
a circle, they might guess that the figure is a cylinder or a cone. After projecting one
face, turn the figure onto another face, and ask students whether they want to change
their conjecture.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Shape Flash
Materials
– blank paper (a few sheets per student)
– GeoRel2.BLM5a-f: Shape Flash Cards (1 set)
Provide students with blank paper. Flash each shape from GeoRel2.BLM5a-f: Shape Flash
Cards for two to three seconds. On the blank paper, have students draw the shape they
remember seeing. Show the shape again and ask students to compare their drawings with
the original shape.
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Pizza Parlour
Materials
– pattern blocks
– GeoRel2.BLM6: Pizza Parlour Game Board (1 per student)
– spinner made with GeoRel2.BLM7: Pizza Parlour Spinner, a paper clip, and a pencil
(1 per group of students)
Have students play this game with a partner or in groups of three or four. The object
of the game is to be the first player to fill his or her game board with pattern blocks.
Explain that players, in turn, spin the spinner, take the pattern block indicated by the
spinner, and place the pattern block on their game board. Tell students that as the game
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Shapes Within Shapes
Materials
– square pattern blocks (16 per student)
– triangle pattern blocks (16 per student)
– pencils
– GeoRel2.BLM8: Triangle Paper (1 per student)
– GeoRel2.BLM9: Grid Paper (1 per student)
Have students use up to 16 triangle pattern blocks to create as many different triangles
as they can. Students start with 16 pattern blocks each time they create a new triangle.
Have students record the triangles on GeoRel2.BLM8: Triangle Paper.
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
progresses, they may replace groups of pattern blocks with one pattern block that matches
the group. For example, students could replace two trapezoids with a hexagon, or they
could replace three triangles with a trapezoid. Explain that if a player cannot use the
pattern block indicated on the spinner, then he or she cannot take a pattern block.
The turn passes to the next player. The game ends when one player’s pizzas are ready
to serve (i.e., all the pizza shapes are covered with pattern blocks).
A triangle made with four triangle pattern blocks
Have students use up to 16 square pattern blocks to create as many different squares or
rectangles as they can. Students start with 16 pattern blocks each time they create a
new square or rectangle. Ask them to record the squares or rectangles on GeoRel2.BLM9:
Grid Paper.
A square made with four square pattern blocks
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
141
Dear Parent/Guardian:
In math, we are learning about three-dimensional figures, such as
the following:
Cube
Rectangular Prism
Triangle-Based Pyramid
Triangular Prism
Square-Based Pyramid
Cone
Cylinder
We will also be learning how three-dimensional figures can be put
together to build structures, and we will be doing an activity in which
we build structures with packaging materials.
You can help us! We would appreciate if you could collect packaging
materials that look like the three-dimensional figures illustrated above
(for example, cardboard boxes, cartons, paper towel rolls, toilet tissue
rolls) and send them to class with your child.
Thank you in advance for the materials you are able to provide for our
math activity.
GeoRel2.BLM1
Request for Packaging Materials
GeoRel2.BLM2a
Polydron Cards
GeoRel2.BLM2b
Polydron Cards
GeoRel2.BLM2c
Polydron Cards
Use all seven tangram pieces to form the figure below.
What am I?
GeoRel2.BLM3a
Tangram Puzzles
Use all seven tangram pieces to form the figure below.
What am I?
GeoRel2.BLM3b
Tangram Puzzles
Use all seven tangram pieces to form the figure below.
What am I?
GeoRel2.BLM3c
Tangram Puzzles
Use all seven tangram pieces to form the figure below.
What am I?
GeoRel2.BLM3d
Tangram Puzzles
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about shapes and how they can be put
together and taken apart.
Try this activity with your child.
Cut out the two sets of shapes from the attached page. Keep one set
of shapes, and give the other set to your child.
Ask your child to close his or her eyes. While your child is not looking,
take two of your shapes and place them together in any way. Here is
an example of how you might arrange two shapes.
Now, ask your child to open his or eyes and look at the arrangement.
After a few seconds, cover the arrangement with a sheet of paper.
Have your child use his or her set of shapes to re-create your shape
arrangement from memory. When your child has finished, show your
arrangement once again, and compare the two arrangements.
When your child is able to re-create arrangements made from two
shapes, challenge him or her to re-create arrangements made from
three or four shapes.
GeoRel2.BLM4a
Quick Views
Shape Set 1
Shape Set 2
GeoRel2.BLM4b
Quick Views
GeoRel2.BLM5a
Shape Flash Cards
GeoRel2.BLM5b
Shape Flash Cards
GeoRel2.BLM5c
Shape Flash Cards
GeoRel2.BLM5d
Shape Flash Cards
GeoRel2.BLM5e
Shape Flash Cards
GeoRel2.BLM5f
Shape Flash Cards
GeoRel2.BLM6
Pizza Parlour Game Board
Make a spinner using this page, a paper clip, and a pencil.
GeoRel2.BLM7
Pizza Parlour Spinner
GeoRel2.BLM8
Triangle Paper
GeoRel2.BLM9
Grid Paper
Grade 2 Learning Activity: Location and Movement
BIG IDEA
Location and Movement
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• describe the relative locations (e.g., beside, two steps to the right of) and the movement
of objects on a map (e.g., “The path shows that he walked around the desk, down the
aisle, and over to the window.”).
MATERIALS
– Loc2.BLM1: Request for Stuffed Animals (1 per student)
– stuffed animals (brought to class by students; 1 per student)
– overhead projector
– transparency of Loc2.BLM2: Are We There Yet? Game Board
– Loc2.BLM2: Are We There Yet? Game Board (1 per student)
– counters (1 per student and 1 for teacher)
– spinner made with Loc2.BLM3: Are We There Yet? Spinner, a paper clip, and a pencil
(1 spinner per pair of students)
– Loc2.BLM4: How Did the Shape Move? (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Before they learn to describe the location and movement of an object on a map, young
students require many experiences in which they move objects in their environment
and describe the objects’ changes in position. Activities that provide students with
opportunities to identify and describe movement using directional language (e.g., to the
right of, to the left of, beside, in front of, behind) develop students’ spatial sense and
vocabulary.
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Are We There Yet?
In Getting Started, students give and follow directions on moving stuffed animals to
different locations. In Working on It, students play a game in which they develop an
understanding of movement on a map.
GETTING STARTED
Before this task, send home Loc2.BLM1: Request for Stuffed Animals. Ensure that
stuffed animals are available in the classroom for students who are unable to bring
one from home.
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
143
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Have students sit on the floor facing the front of the class. Ask students to place their
stuffed animals on the floor in front of them. Demonstrate how to move a stuffed animal
to the left of you, while modelling appropriate language: “I moved my toy to my left”.
(Face the same direction as the students so that your left is also their left.) Ask students
to move their stuffed animals to their left. Watch students to verify that they have
placed their stuffed animal on their left side, and help any students who are experiencing
difficulty. Repeat this process using such expressions as “ to the right of ”, “in front of ”,
“ behind ”, and “above your head ”. Have student volunteers lead the class with other
movement directions.
Ask students to find a partner and their own space in the classroom. Model how to play
a game by asking a student to be your partner and to follow your directions (e.g., “Place
your stuffed animal behind you”). Ask the student to give you the next direction. Explain
that partners take turns giving each other directions for moving their stuffed animals.
WORKING ON IT
Project a transparency of Loc2.BLM2: Are We There Yet? Game Board, and place a
counter on the board. Describe how the counter can be moved horizontally or vertically.
Be careful in your descriptions that the movement of the projected image matches
students’ perspective (e.g., “up” means up from where students are sitting). Ask a
student to move the counter two spaces. Ask another student to demonstrate a
different way to move the counter two spaces.
Demonstrate the Are We There Yet? game. Explain that students will play the game with
a partner. Tell students that the object of the game is to be the first player to move a
counter from the Start to the Finish position on his or her game board. Explain the
game’s procedures:
• Students each place a counter on the Start square on Loc2.BLM2: Are We There Yet?
Game Board
• Players take turns spinning the spinner, made from Loc2.BLM3: Are We There Yet?
Spinner, a paper clip, and a pencil, and moving their counter horizontally or vertically.
• Players may not move their counter on top of objects on the map (e.g., shaded rectangles
with pictures of a bench, a pool, a tree, etc.).
• If a player is unable to move his or her counter the number of spaces indicated on
the spinner, his or her turn ends.
• Players continue to spin, moving their counter towards the Finish position. Players
must continue to move until they are successful. For example, if a student who is
two squares from the Finish square spins “3 spaces”, he or she must move three squares
in some direction.
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• “Where is your counter now?”
• “Why did you move your counter in this direction?”
• “Where would your counter be if you moved it three spaces to the right?”
• “How could you move your counter so that it is close to the bench?”
• “Did you make a move that you now wish you had done in a different way? Why?"
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
After students have played the game, ask them questions, such as the following:
• “What was challenging about this game?”
• “What strategies did you use in this game?”
• “What are some ways you moved your counter on the game board?”
Project a transparency of Loc2.BLM2: Are We There Yet? Game Board. Place a counter
on the map and ask students to describe its location in different ways (e.g., “The counter
is to the left of the pool.” “It is between the tree and the pool.” “It is near the tree.”
“It is three squares below the bench.”). Emphasize the positional language that students
use to describe location.
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty with the game. Suggest that they use a simpler spinner
(e.g., a spinner indicating movement of only one or two spaces) and a smaller map.
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
While students play the game, ask them questions, such as:
Challenge students by asking them to create their own game board with different obstacles
or to develop another spinner with more specific directions (e.g., move three spaces
vertically). Suggest that students include diagonal movements for a greater challenge.
MATH LANGUAGE
– above
– in front of
– behind
– to the right
– to the left
– vertically
– horizontally
– forward
– backwards
– sideways
– up
– down
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
145
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• move counters on the map according to the instructions on the spinner;
• describe location and movement on the map using appropriate language (e.g., to the
right, up, down, sideways).
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Loc2.BLM4: How Did the Shape Move? In this Home Connection task, parents
or guardians move a shape and students try to describe the movements.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Find the Doughnut
Materials
– transparent geoboard
– overhead projector
– 5 x 5 geoboards (1 per student)
– washers (1 per student and 1 for teacher)
Away from students’ view, place a washer, representing a doughnut, on one peg on a
transparent geoboard on the overhead projector. Give students clues to help them locate
the “doughnut”. For example, you could say, “The doughnut is in the second row. It is near
the right end of that row.” Ask students to show where they think the doughnut is located
by placing a washer on their geoboards. Turn on the overhead projector, and have students
check to see whether their doughnut is in the correct position.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Treasure Hunt
Materials
– small object, such as a paper clip or pencil (1 per pair of students)
Have pairs of students participate in a classroom treasure hunt. Have one student hide
a small object in the classroom. Ask the student to provide oral directions that will
help his or her partner find the hidden object. The student may use directions such as
“take two steps to the right”, “take four steps backwards”, and so on, to lead his or her
partner to the “treasure”. Then have students switch roles.
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Symmetry on the Screen
Materials
– KidPix (Ministry-licensed software)
– computer(s)
Ask students to work with a partner. Have students use KidPix to make symmetrical
designs. Ask students to draw a vertical line on the computer screen (a line of reflection
or symmetry) and draw simple shapes on one side of the line. Then have their partner
draw the shapes on the other side of the line to create a symmetrical design. Encourage
students to describe the position of the shapes they add to the symmetrical design
(e.g., “I drew a triangle under the square”).
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Symmetrical Shapes
Materials
– geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (elastic bands) (1 per student)
– Miras (1 per student)
– dot paper (4 sheets per student)
– 2 different-coloured pencil crayons (2 colours per student)
GRADE 2 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
For each challenge that follows, have students:
• make the shape on the geoboard;
• use a Mira to find the lines of symmetry;
• copy the shape onto the dot paper;
• draw the line(s) of symmetry in a different colour.
Present the following challenges to students. Give directions orally or on task cards:
• Make a quadrilateral with one line of symmetry.
• Make a hexagon with no lines of symmetry.
• Make a triangle with one line of symmetry.
Appendix C: Grade 2 Learning Activities
147
Dear Parent/Guardian:
We will be learning about location and movement in geometry.
To help students understand important ideas about location and
movement, we will work on activities in which students manipulate
objects. One of the activities involves movements using stuffed
animals.
Please allow your child to bring a stuffed animal to school this week.
I can assure you that students will be asked to use the stuffed
animals responsibly and to keep them in good condition.
If you have an extra stuffed animal for a child without one, please
send it to school as well.
Thank you for your help.
Loc2.BLM1
Request for Stuffed Animals
Loc2.BLM2
Are We There Yet? Game Board
Start
Finish
Make a spinner using this page, a paper clip, and a pencil.
1 space
4 spaces
5 spaces
6 spaces
3 spaces
2 spaces
Loc2.BLM3
Are We There Yet? Spinner
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class is exploring activities that develop spatial sense. When we
move objects in our world, we can use language to describe these
movements.
Sit beside your child. Place an object in front of both of you. Give
your child directions as to how to move the object, such as:
• “Move it to your right side.”
• “Move it in front of you.”
• “Move it behind you.”
• “Move it above your head.”
• “Move it under you.”
Switch roles and have your child provide the directions while you move
the object.
You could also play Hot or Cold.
Somewhere in the room, hide an object for your child to find. Have
your child move up to five steps at a time and describe the movements
to you. For example, your child might say, “I am taking three steps
forward”. After your child has taken the three steps, ask him or her
to pause while you tell whether he or she is “hot or cold “. If your
child is near the object, he or she is “hot”. If your child is far away
from the object, he or she is “cold”. As your child moves closer to the
object, he or she becomes “warm” or “warmer”. As your child moves
farther from the object, he or she becomes “cool” or “cooler”.
Continue until your child is “on fire” and finds the object you hid.
Loc2.BLM4
How Did the Shape Move?
D.
Appendix Contents
Grade 3
Learning Activities
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes: Geoboard Gems . . . . . . . . . . 151
Blackline masters: Prop2D3.BLM1 – Prop2D3.BLM2
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures: Nets or Not
Blackline masters: Prop3D3.BLM1 – Prop3D3.BLM4
. . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Geometric Relationships: Shapes From Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Blackline masters: GeoRel3.BLM1 – GeoRel3.BLM3
Location and Movement: Quite the Quilts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Blackline masters: Loc3.BLM1 – Loc3.BLM6
Grade 3 Learning Activity: Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
BIG IDEA
Properties of Two-Dimensional Shapes
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify and compare various polygons (i.e., triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons,
heptagons, octagons) and sort them by their geometric properties (i.e., number of sides;
side lengths; number of interior angles; number of right angles);
• identify congruent two-dimensional shapes by manipulating and matching concrete
materials (e.g., by translating, reflecting, or rotating pattern blocks).
MATERIALS
– 5 x 5 geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (elastic bands) (1 per student)
– chart paper
– index cards (1 per student)
– Prop2D3.BLM1: Geoboard Gems (1 per student)
– scissors
– Prop2D3.BLM2: Toothpick Shapes Game (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Experiences in examining and describing two-dimensional shapes help students to recognize
the properties of shapes and to understand that all shapes within a category share
common properties. For example, students learn that all triangles, regardless of their
form, size, or orientation, have three sides and three vertices. Students who demonstrate
the ability to identify shapes by their properties, rather than by their general appearance
alone, have progressed from the visualization level to the analysis level, according to
van Hiele’s levels of geometric thought (see p. 12).
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Geoboard Gems
Geoboards are effective instructional tools to help students examine and describe
two-dimensional shapes. In this task, students create shapes on geoboards and classify
the shapes according to number of sides. By comparing the shapes within a category
(triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, octagons), students observe
that the shapes share a common property (i.e., the same number of sides) but that the
shapes can have different forms.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
151
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
The task also provides opportunities for students to describe and analyse shapes
as they:
• write clues about geoboard shapes they create;
• identify a specific geoboard shape in an assortment of shapes by listening to clues
about the shape;
• construct shapes on geoboards according to a set of clues.
GETTING STARTED
Provide each student with a 5 x 5 geoboard and a geoband. Instruct students to create
a shape that has from three to eight straight sides.
Tell students that their shapes belong to one of six families: the Triangles, the
Quadrilaterals, the Pentagons, the Hexagons, the Heptagons, or the Octagons. Explain
that each shape family is having a party, so all family members need to get together.
Instruct students to identify their geoboard shape and then to walk around the room
looking for family members. When students have found all their family members, they
gather together with their geoboards.
Discuss the geoboard shapes in each shape family by asking students questions, such as
the following:
• “Which family does your shape belong to?”
• “What do all your family members have in common?”
• “What are some differences among your family members?”
Ask students: “Suppose you met a shape that did not know which family it belonged to.
How could you help the shape decide which family to join?” Discuss the need to count
the sides in order to identify a shape.
WORKING ON IT
Have students gather and bring their geoboard shapes. Show one student’s geoboard shape
to the class, and ask students to describe it. Record their statements on chart paper.
For example, the following statements could be made for the shape illustrated on the
next page:
• The shape is a pentagon.
• The shape has five vertices.
• Three angles are right angles.
• There are four pins in the middle of the shape.
• Two sides are the same length.
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Next, ask students to use their geoboards and make a different shape that has from three
to eight straight sides. Have them record a description of their shape on an index card.
When students have finished writing their descriptions, choose six geoboards that show
different shapes. Place the geoboards on the ledge of the board. Keep the index card
descriptions hidden. Choose the index card for one of the geoboard shapes, and read the
description to the class. Ask students to listen carefully to the description and try to
determine the corresponding geoboard. Pause after reading each statement on the card
to give students time to analyse the geoboard shapes with the description in mind. After
reading some of the statements, point to one of the geoboards, and ask students to
explain whether the shape could be the one being described.
Finish reading all the statements on the index card, and then ask students to choose the
geoboard shape that they think is described and to justify their choice. When students
agree on a geoboard shape, ask them to describe it in ways that are not recorded on the
index card.
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Have students turn to a partner and describe their geoboard shapes. They can refer to
the recorded statements for ideas on how to describe their shapes.
Next, change the order of the geoboards on the ledge, read the description on another
index card, and have students identify the matching geoboard shape.
Give back the geoboards and ask students to create another shape that has from three to
eight straight sides. Have them draw their shape on the dot paper section of Prop2D3.BLM1:
Geoboard Gems and record clues about their shape on the lined section of the sheet.
Have students cut the paper into two parts along the dotted line.
Ask students to find a partner. Have them keep their dot paper shapes face down and
exchange the written Clues sections with their partner. Have students read the clues and
try to make the described shape on a geoboard. Next, ask students to compare their
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
153
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
completed geoboard shape with the one drawn on their partner’s dot paper to see whether
the shapes are congruent. If the shapes are not congruent, ask students to analyse and
discuss the differences and make appropriate changes to the geoboard shape.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Ask the following questions to help students think about the task:
• “Were you able to make a geoboard shape that was congruent to the dot paper shape?
Why or why not?”
• “What was challenging about following your partner’s clues?”
• “What kinds of clues did you need to give to your partner so that he or she was able
to create a congruent shape?”
Ask other questions to help students reflect on the properties of two-dimensional shapes:
• “How do you identify a shape? For example, how do you identify a pentagon?”
• “What shape is a stop sign? How do you know that a stop sign is an octagon?”
• “Do all octagons look like a stop sign? How are all octagons the same? How can
octagons be different?”
• “How can you describe a two-dimensional shape?” (number of sides, number of vertices,
number of right angles, side length)
Show students two different geoboard shapes from different families, (e.g., a pentagon
and a hexagon). Say: “Look at these two shapes. How are they the same? How are they
different?” Repeat with two different geoboard shapes from the same family (e.g., two
different pentagons).
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty following the clues. Ask their partner to help them
make the shapes on the geoboards.
Some students may require clearly stated directions. To help these students, prepare
clue cards for simple shapes ahead of time. If students require oral directions, you,
or a student, could read the clues aloud.
Challenge students by asking them to make two different shapes on two geoboards.
Have these students record descriptions of how the shapes are the same and how
they are different.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
ASSESSMENT
Observe students as they construct shapes by following clues, and assess how well they:
• identify two-dimensional shapes from their properties (e.g., number of sides, side
lengths);
• describe two-dimensional shapes using appropriate geometric language;
• compare, sort, and classify two-dimensional shapes.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop2D3.BLM2: Toothpick Shapes Game. In this Home Connection game,
students and their parents/guardians make two-dimensional shapes using toothpicks.
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Cutting Corners
Materials
– scissors (1 per student)
– rectangular sheets of scrap paper (1 per student)
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
MATH LANGUAGE
– triangle
– quadrilateral
– pentagon
– hexagon
– heptagon
– octagon
– vertex/vertices
– right angles
– congruent
– polygon
Provide each student with a pair of scissors and a sheet of paper. Ask students to identify
the shape of the sheet of paper (rectangle or quadrilateral). Next, instruct students to
cut a corner from the sheet of paper. (The cut should be straight.) Have students count
the number of sides on their sheet of paper and identify its shape (pentagon).
Have students cut off another square corner from their sheet of paper. Ask them to
count the number of sides and to identify the shape of the paper. Do the same for the
remaining two corners. The second cut produces a hexagon, the third cut produces a
heptagon, and the fourth cut produces an octagon.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
155
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Challenge students to make a straight cut on their octagon to create a nine-sided polygon
(a nonagon). You can continue to have students making cuts to make shapes with ten, eleven,
and twelve sides. Students may be interested to learn the names of these shapes: decagon,
hendecagon, and dodecagon.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Circle Sort
Materials
– 5 x 5 geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (1 per student)
Have students sit in a circle. Provide each student with a geoboard and geoband. Ask
students to make a shape on their geoboard. Ask ten students to place their geoboards in
the middle of the circle. Have students look at the ten geoboards and think about how they
could sort the shapes. Ask a student to sort according to his or her own sorting rule. Have
the other students examine the sorted shapes and try to determine the sorting rule.
Allow other students to sort the geoboard shapes in other ways and their classmates to
determine the sorting rule. After each sort, select an additional geoboard shape from
another student. Ask students, “Can this shape be included in your sort? Why or why not?”
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
In-Pins
Materials
– 5 x 5 geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (1 per student)
Provide each student with a geoboard and a geoband. Ask students to construct a triangle
with one interior pin. Explain that the geoband must not touch the interior pin. Students
can compare their shape with a partner’s.
Challenge students to create other shapes with interior pins (e.g., a triangle with two
interior pins, a quadrilateral with three interior pins, a hexagon with one interior pin).
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Cut and See
Materials
– rectangular pieces of scrap paper (1 per student)
– scissors
Provide students with a sheet of paper and a pair of scissors. Ask students to fold the
paper in half and to cut out a shape on the fold that will result in a triangle when the
shape is unfolded.
Fold
Challenge students to cut out other shapes on the fold that will create a quadrilateral,
a pentagon, and a hexagon when the shape is unfolded.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF TWO-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
157
Clues
Prop2D3.BLM1
Geoboard Gems
Prop2D3.BLM2
Toothpick Shapes Game
Dear Parent/Guardian:
We have been learning about two-dimensional shapes at school. Play
the Toothpick Shapes Game with your child to help him or her review
different types of shapes.
Players make triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, and hexagons with
toothpicks that touch at the ends. Here are some examples:
Triangle:
Three Sides
Quadrilateral:
Four Sides
Pentagon:
Five Sides
Hexagon:
Six Sides
If players use three toothpicks, the shape of the triangle is as shown
above. If players use four, five, or six toothpicks, they do not have to
make the shapes exactly as shown above. Players may make any shape
with four, five, and six toothpicks, but the shape must be closed (it may
not have gaps between toothpicks).
Players take turns rolling a die. Players take the number of toothpicks
indicated by the die and make a shape using the toothpicks.
If the die shows a 1 or 2, the player does not take any toothpicks, and
the turn passes to the other player.
The first player to make all four shapes (triangle, quadrilateral,
pentagon, hexagon) wins the game.
Grade 3 Learning Activity: Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
BIG IDEA
Properties of Three-Dimensional Figures
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• compare and sort prisms and pyramids by geometric properties (i.e., number and shape
of faces, number of edges, number of vertices), using concrete materials;
• construct rectangular prisms (e.g., using given paper nets; using Polydrons), and describe
geometric properties (i.e., number and shape of faces, number of edges, number of
vertices) of the prisms.
MATERIALS
– triangular prism made from Polydron pieces (for teacher demonstration)
– 8.5 in. x 11 in. (letter-sized) paper (several sheets per group)
– Polydron sets (or Frameworks)
– three-dimensional solid figure of a rectangular prism
– scissors (1 pair per group)
– rulers (1 per group)
– pencils (1 per group)
– chart paper
– three-dimensional solid figure of a triangular prism
– net of a rectangular prism made from Polydron pieces
– square-based pyramid (optional)
– triangle-based pyramid (optional)
– Prop3D3.BLM1: Shapes in Boxes (1 per student)
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Nets or Not
ABOUT THE MATH
In Grade 3, students are introduced to nets of three-dimensional figures. They learn
that nets are composed of two-dimensional shapes and that nets can be folded to create
three-dimensional figures. At this grade level, students are not expected to create paper
nets themselves. They are expected, however, to build rectangular prisms from nets and
to use nets to explore the properties of prisms (e.g., the number and shape of their faces).
In this task, students work with Polydron pieces that represent the faces of prisms.
With the pieces connected in different configurations, students try to visualize whether
each arrangement can be folded to form a prism. This experience helps students to
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
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GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
understand that a net is not simply composed of the two-dimensional faces of a figure
arranged in any configuration, but that the position of the faces on the figure determines
how the faces can be arranged in its corresponding net.
The examination of nets and three-dimensional models helps students identify the properties
of prisms (e.g., the shapes of the faces, the number of edges, the number of vertices).
The instructional goal is not for students to memorize the number of faces, edges, and
vertices of three-dimensional figures, but for them to develop the ability to analyse and
describe figures effectively.
The investigation of triangular and rectangular prisms leads to a discussion about the
properties of prisms in general. Students begin to understand that the structure for all
prisms is similar: Prisms have two congruent, parallel faces, and rectangles form their
other faces. Prisms take their names from the shape of the congruent and parallel faces
(e.g., prisms with two congruent and parallel triangles are triangular prisms).
Students should investigate and discuss the similarities and differences between prisms.
In doing so, students will determine the properties of rectangular prisms. Assessment for
this task focuses on the student’s ability to describe the properties of rectangular prisms.
GETTING STARTED
Show students a triangular prism made using Polydron pieces. Draw attention to the
properties of a triangular prism by asking students to name the three-dimensional figure
and to identify its faces (two triangles and three rectangles). Now, unsnap the Polydron
pieces so that they lie flat but are still connected, as shown in the following example.
Explain to students that a net is a flat arrangement of connected two-dimensional shapes
that can be folded to create a three-dimensional figure.
Detach one of the triangles and ask students, “Is it possible to reattach this triangle to
any side of one of the other Polydron pieces and still have a net for a triangular prism?”
Show students different configurations by attaching the triangle to different sides.
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WORKING ON IT
Arrange students in groups of three or four. Ask groups to make a list of the six Polydron
shapes they will need to construct a rectangular prism (i.e., six squares, or two squares
and four rectangles). Allow students to view a model of a rectangular prism to help them
identify the appropriate Polydron pieces.
Invite a student from each group to gather the Polydron pieces on his or her group’s list
and to snap the Polydron pieces together to construct a rectangular prism. Allow groups
to revise their lists if they omitted or incorrectly identified any Polydron pieces.
When groups have constructed a rectangular prism, instruct them to unsnap the six
Polydron pieces so that none of them are connected. Explain the following task:
• Have each student, in turn, snap together all six Polydron pieces in any arrangement
and show the configuration to group members.
• Ask each student in the group to state either “Net” or “Not a net” after viewing the
Polydron arrangement and trying to visualize whether it can be folded to form a
rectangular prism.
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
Ask students to predict whether each configuration can be folded to create a triangular
prism. Fold the Polydron shapes to test students’ predictions. Discuss how all the
configurations contain the same Polydron pieces but how only those that can be folded
to form a triangular prism are nets.
• Have students fold the Polydron arrangement to verify their predictions.
Next, have each group trace around one of their Polydron arrangements and cut out the shape
they have traced. Have students use a ruler and pencil to draw the interior folding lines.
On the board or chart paper, create two columns. Label these sections “Net” and “Not a Net”.
Ask each group, in turn, to show their cut-out shape to the class. Students look at the
shape and try to visualize whether the shape can be folded to make a rectangular prism.
Ask students to give a thumbs-up sign if they think the shape is a net for a rectangular
prism or a thumbs-down sign if they think it is not. Ask a student to fold the shape to
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
161
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
verify whether it creates a rectangular prism. Post each shape on the board or the chart
paper in its proper column.
When all the shapes have been categorized as either “Net” or “Not a Net”, ask students:
• “What is a net?”
• “How are a rectangular prism and one of its nets the same? How are they different?”
• “How are the shapes in the Net column the same as the shapes in the Not a Net column?
How are they different?”
• “How are all the shapes in the Net column alike? What differences do you notice?”
• “Are there congruent shapes? How do you know that the shapes are congruent?”
• “How can you tell, just by looking at a shape, whether or not it is a net for a rectangular
prism?”
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Bring the class together, and display a three-dimensional model of a rectangular prism
and a net for a rectangular prism. Ask:
• “On which form, the model or the net, is it easier for you to identify the different
kinds of faces of a rectangular prism? Why?”
• “On which form, the model or the net, is it easier for you to count the number of
edges on a rectangular prism? Why?”
• “On which form, the model or the net, is it easier for you to count the number of
vertices on a rectangular prism? Why?”
For each question, allow students to take either the model or the net and demonstrate
how they would use it to identify the kinds of faces, or to count edges and vertices.
Students may feel that counting vertices is easier with the three-dimensional model,
because students don’t need to think about what “corners” on the net will meet when it’s
folded. Other may say that seeing the shapes of faces is easier with the net, because
the net is flat and students don’t need to rotate it to view all the faces. Most students
will say that it is easier to count the edges on the three-dimensional model, because all
edges are not as readily apparent on the net.
As a class, create a list on chart paper of the properties of a rectangular prism. Allow
students to use the models and nets of the prisms. Students may need to examine threedimensional figures and nets to find the number of faces, edges, and vertices.
Rectangular Prism
– 6 rectangular faces
– 12 edges
– 8 vertices
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Challenge students to examine a square-based pyramid and a triangle-based pyramid and
use Polydron pieces to create the figures and to find as many different nets as possible.
MATH LANGUAGE
– three-dimensional figure
– two-dimensional shape
– triangle
– rectangle
– square
– triangular prism
– rectangular prism
– net
– face
– edge
– vertex/vertices
– congruent
– prism
– parallel
– pyramid
– square-based pyramid
– triangle-based pyramid
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• construct rectangular prisms from nets;
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty recognizing whether a configuration of Polydron pieces is
a net. Encourage other group members to help these students. Groups could allow these
students to manipulate the Polydron configuration before they decide whether it is a net.
• determine whether different configurations of two-dimensional faces are nets for
rectangular prisms;
• identify congruent shapes;
• describe the properties of rectangular prisms (e.g., the number and shapes of their
faces).
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Prop3D3.BLM1: Shapes in Boxes. In this Home Connection task, students and
their parents/guardians unfold boxes and identify the two-dimensional shapes they find
in the nets.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
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GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Decorated Boxes
Materials
– Prop3D3.BLM2a-e: Nets for Figures (1 net per student)
– scissors
– markers, crayons, pencil crayons
– tape or glue
Provide students with copies of nets from Prop3D3.BLM2a-e: Nets for Figures. Have students
select one of the nets, cut it out, and – without taping or gluing it together – fold it to
form a box.
Have students choose a kind of material, product, or object (e.g., food, toy, school supply)
that could be stored in their box. Encourage students to unfold the net and use markers,
crayons, or pencil crayons to decorate their boxes in ways that depict the proposed contents.
Then have students refold the net and tape or glue their decorated boxes together.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Box Elimination
Materials
– Prop3D3.BLM3: Request for Boxes (1 per student)
– a collection of boxes, including cubes, cylinders, square-based pyramids, rectangular
prisms, and triangular prisms (brought in by students)
Before this task, send home Prop3D3.BLM3: Request for Boxes, and collect boxes
brought to class by students.
Display four to six boxes. Describe one of the boxes by giving clues, such as the following:
• “This box has a square face.”
• “It has an even number of faces.”
• “It has twelve edges.”
• “It could hold a tennis ball but not a basketball.”
• “It can be stacked.”
• “It has more than one pair of congruent parallel faces.”
After each clue is given, instruct students to eliminate a box that does not match the clue.
For example, students could eliminate a cylinder following the first clue given above.
Have students continue to eliminate boxes until one box is left.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Prism Investigations
Materials
– Polydron sets
Show a triangular prism made with Polydron pieces, and then ask students to use Polydron
pieces to construct a triangular prism. Discuss the faces of a triangular prism (two triangles,
three rectangles) and their arrangement in the figure (i.e., the two triangles are parallel,
and rectangles connect the triangles).
Next, show a rectangular prism, and have students create their own. Again, discuss the
arrangement of the faces in the prism.
Have students select a pentagonal Polydron piece. Ask them to select the other pieces
needed to build a pentagonal prism. Have them construct it. Ask students to explain how
they knew which pieces to select.
Have students select a hexagonal Polydron piece and connect it to other Polydron pieces
to construct a hexagonal prism.
Encourage students to make generalizations about prisms by asking questions, such as:
• “How are triangular, rectangular, pentagonal, and hexagonal prisms alike?” (They all
have rectangular faces. They all have congruent faces at opposite ends.)
• “How are the prisms different?” (The congruent faces at opposite ends – triangles,
rectangles, pentagons, hexagons – are different for each prism.)
• “How can you determine the number of rectangles that connect the faces at opposite
ends of a prism?” (The number of rectangles equals to the number of sides of one of
the end faces. For example, there are three rectangles in a triangular prism.)
• “What are the faces of an octagonal prism? How do you know?” (The name of the prism
suggests that there are two octagons. There are eight rectangles, one for each side
of an octagon.)
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Prism Power
Materials
– number cubes with numbers 1 to 6 (1 per pair of students)
– Polydron sets
Have students play this game in pairs. The goal of the game is to construct as many prisms
as possible. Tell students to take turns rolling a number cube and collecting the number
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
165
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: PROPERTIES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPES
166
of Polydron pieces indicated by the number cube. Explain that players may select any
Polydron piece and that each player gets five turns. The game can be played in two ways:
1. After each turn, have students examine the pieces they have accumulated and
construct a prism if possible.
2. Have students assemble as many prisms as possible from all the accumulated Polydron
pieces after the fifth roll of the number cube.
LEARNING CONNECTION 5
Let’s Build!
Materials
– Prop3D3.BLM4: Let’s Build! Cards (1 per student)
– Polydron sets or Frameworks
– three-dimensional figures (for display)
Have students work independently or with a partner. Ask them to select a Let’s Build!
card, read the clues, and construct a three-dimensional figure using Polydron pieces or
Frameworks. Encourage students to refer to models of three-dimensional figures to help
them construct the figures.
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Dear Parent/Guardian:
We have been learning about three-dimensional figures, such as cubes and
rectangular prisms.
Cube
Rectangular Prism
We have been examining the shapes in three-dimensional figures. For example, there are
six squares on a cube.
Try this activity with your child.
Find an empty box, such as a cereal box, a facial tissue box, or a box of chocolates.
Unfold the box carefully by detaching the tabs that hold the box together. Then flatten
the box. Your flattened box might look something like this:
Help your child examine the flattened box, and ask him or her to identify the different
shapes. For example, your child might see rectangles and squares. Have your child label
the different shapes.
Try the activity with a variety of boxes.
Prop3D3.BLM1
Shapes in Boxes
Prop3D3.BLM2a
Nets for Figures – Net for a Cube
Prop3D3.BLM2b
Nets for Figures –
Net for a Triangular Prism
Prop3D3.BLM2c
Nets for Figures –
Net for a Rectangular Prism
Prop3D3.BLM2d
Nets for Figures –
Net for a Triangle-Based Pyramid
Prop3D3.BLM2e
Nets for Figures –
Net for a Square-Based Pyramid
Prop3D3.BLM3
Request for Boxes
Dear Parent/Guardian:
We have been learning about three-dimensional figures in math. Here
are some of the three-dimensional figures we are studying:
Cube
Rectangular Prism
Triangle-Based Pyramid
Triangular Prism
Square-Based Pyramid
Cone
Cylinder
We will be working with boxes that are three-dimensional figures.
You can help us! We would appreciate if you could send any empty
boxes that look like three-dimensional figures to class with your child.
Thank you in advance for the boxes you are able to provide for our
math activity.
Let’s Build!
Challenge Card #1
Let’s Build!
Challenge Card #2
I have 12 edges.
I have 9 edges.
I have 8 vertices.
I have 6 vertices.
I have 6 faces.
I have 5 faces.
BUILD ME!
BUILD ME!
Let’s Build!
Challenge Card #3
Let’s Build!
Challenge Card #4
I have 6 edges.
I have 8 edges.
I have 4 vertices.
I have 5 vertices.
I have 4 faces.
I have 5 faces.
BUILD ME!
BUILD ME!
Prop3D3.BLM4
Let’s Build! Cards
Grade 3 Learning Activity: Geometric Relationships
BIG IDEA
Geometric Relationships
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• solve problems requiring the greatest or least number of two-dimensional shapes
(e.g., pattern blocks) needed to compose a larger shape in a variety of ways (e.g., to cover
Sample problem: Compose a hexagon using different numbers of
an outline puzzle) (S
smaller shapes.);
• identify congruent two-dimensional shapes by manipulating and matching concrete
materials (e.g., by translating, reflecting, or rotating pattern blocks).
MATERIALS
– pattern blocks
– overhead projector
– chart paper (1 sheet per group)
– pattern block stamps, pattern block stickers, or copies of pattern block shapes from
GeoRel3.BLM1a–f: Pattern Block Shapes
– markers
– pencil crayons or crayons
– GeoRel3.BLM2a–b: Tricky Triangles (1 per student)
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Shapes From Shapes
ABOUT THE MATH
An understanding of geometric relationships includes the ability to perceive how shapes
can be combined to create other shapes. In this task, students work with pattern blocks
(triangle, square, trapezoid, hexagon, and two sizes of rhombuses) to investigate ways in
which these shapes can be arranged to form triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, and
hexagons. For example, students could arrange pattern blocks in the following ways to
create hexagons:
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
167
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
This task helps to reinforce students’ understanding of geometric relationships that
exist among polygons:
• All polygons are closed shapes with only straight sides. The number of sides in a
polygon determines its category (e.g., a four-sided polygon is a quadrilateral).
• All polygons within a category have the same number of sides (e.g., all hexagons have
six sides); however, the forms of polygons within a category can vary from one shape
to the next. In the preceding illustration, the pattern blocks create hexagons,
however the forms of the hexagons are clearly different.
• Polygons are congruent if they are exactly the same shape and size.
GETTING STARTED
Place the six different pattern block shapes on the overhead projector, one at a time,
and ask students to identify each shape (triangle, square, trapezoid, hexagon, small
rhombus, large rhombus).
Next, explain to students that they are going to investigate ways in which pattern blocks
can be combined to make polygons. Review the meaning of polygon, and clarify that a
polygon is a closed shape with only straight sides. Show an example of a shape created
using pattern blocks by placing two squares on the overhead projector and sliding them
together to form a rectangle.
As well, show how four squares can be arranged to form a larger square.
Place three different pattern blocks (e.g., two triangles and one large rhombus) on the
overhead projector. Explain to students that the blocks can be arranged to create other
shapes and that any arrangement is acceptable if the sides of the blocks are completely
touching. Show examples of both acceptable and unacceptable arrangements.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Unacceptable
Arrangement
Unacceptable
Arrangement
Invite a student to create a shape using the three pattern blocks. Ask students to count
the number of sides and to identify the shape. Slide the arrangement to a corner of the
overhead projector and place three of the same kinds of pattern blocks on the projector.
Explain to students that the next shape should be made from the three pattern blocks
shown but that it should not be congruent to the first one. Demonstrate that congruent
shapes, such as the following, are the same size and shape even though they may be
oriented differently.
Invite other students to create other non-congruent shapes with three of the same kinds of
pattern blocks. As each shape is made, leave it intact on the overhead projector so that
students can check that their shape is not congruent to ones that have been assembled.
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
Acceptable
Arrangement
Discuss the different configurations students made with the pattern blocks, and ask
them to identify the type of shape created by each arrangement. For example, students
might have arranged two triangles and one large rhombus to form the following shapes:
Triangle
Quadrilateral
Hexagon
Have other students create a variety of shapes using a different set of three pattern
blocks.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
169
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
WORKING ON IT
Explain to the class that different groups of students will be making triangles,
quadrilaterals, pentagons, and hexagons using from one to four pattern blocks.
Arrange students in four groups and assign a different shape (triangle, quadrilateral,
pentagon, hexagon) to each group. Provide each group with a sheet of chart paper, and
instruct students to make four sections on their paper by folding it into quarters. Have
students label the sections of the paper: 1 Pattern Block, 2 Pattern Blocks, 3 Pattern
Blocks, and 4 Pattern Blocks, as shown in the diagram.
1 Pattern Block
2 Pattern Blocks
3 Pattern Blocks
4 Pattern Blocks
As students find different ways to create their assigned shape using one to four pattern
blocks, have them record the shapes in the appropriate section of their chart paper.
They can trace around each pattern block, use pattern block stamps or stickers, or cut
out and glue shapes from GeoRel3.BLM1a–f: Pattern Block Shapes. Have students colour
the smaller shapes that compose the new shapes on their chart paper to match the
pattern block colours. The new shapes can be congruent or non-congruent, as long as the
pattern blocks are in different places. For example, the shapes shown below are
congruent, but the pattern blocks are in different locations.
During the task, remind students that they should create and record the shapes within
the appropriate section of the chart.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
After students have completed their investigation, bring them together to share their
findings. Ask students to show on chart paper the shapes their group recorded and to
explain how they created the shapes using different numbers of pattern blocks. Ask
students in each group questions, such as:
• “What part of your investigation was easy? What part was challenging?”
• “Was it possible to create your shape using one, two, three, and four pattern blocks?”
• “Did you find more than one way to create your shape using one, two, three, or four
pattern blocks?”
• “Which pattern block shape did you use most often to create your assigned shape?
Why do you think you used this pattern block more often than the others?”
• “How did finding one way to make a shape help you find other ways to make the
shape?”
• “How are all of the shapes you created alike? How are they different?”
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
It may be necessary to encourage participation by all group members. For example, you
might suggest that students accept different responsibilities (e.g., creating the assigned
shape with pattern blocks, recording the pattern block shapes, finding a way to create a
different form of the assigned shape, colouring the shapes) and that they change roles
throughout the task.
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSION
Some students may have difficulty with this task. Since hexagons can be formed easily
using different combinations of pattern blocks, assign the hexagon to these students.
Allow students who experience difficulties to create their assigned shape using any
number of pattern blocks. After completing the shape, encourage them to substitute
smaller pattern blocks for a larger shape (or vice versa) in order to use the desired
number of blocks. For example, if students create a quadrilateral with three triangles,
they could exchange two triangles for a rhombus, thereby using two pattern blocks, as
shown in the diagram.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
171
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
It may also benefit students to keep assembled pattern block shapes intact so that
they can compare new shapes with those they have already created. They can refer
to completed shapes to determine whether there are other combinations of pattern
blocks that they could use.
Challenge students to create each kind of shape (triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon)
using the fewest pattern blocks possible. Because the set of pattern blocks includes a
triangle and a hexagon, the fewest blocks would be one block for each of these shapes.
Students could also try to create each shape using up to 25 pattern blocks.
Challenge students by asking them to create similar shapes (shapes that have the same form
but that may have different sizes) using different numbers of pattern blocks. For example,
students could make squares using one, four, nine, and sixteen square pattern blocks.
MATH LANGUAGE
– triangle
– square
– rectangle
– trapezoid
– rhombus
– polygon
– quadrilateral
– pentagon
– hexagon
– congruent
– non-congruent
ASSESSMENT
Observe students to assess how well they:
• manipulate pattern blocks to compose polygons;
• use a variety of pattern blocks to create shapes;
• identify and describe polygons according to the number of sides;
• identify and describe congruent shapes.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home GeoRel3.BLM2a–b: Tricky Triangles. This Home Connection task provides an
opportunity for students and their parents/guardians to solve puzzles by finding how a
shape is composed of triangles.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Quadrilateral Quest
Materials
– tangram sets (1 per student)
– sheets of paper (several per student)
– pencils
Ask students to select the square and two small triangles from a tangram set. Instruct
students to use the three tans to create as many different quadrilaterals as possible.
(Students can use one, two, or three tans to make each shape.) Have students record the
quadrilaterals they create by tracing around each tan and labelling the kind of quadrilateral
it is (e.g., rectangle, parallelogram, trapezoid). The quadrilaterals can be congruent, as
long as they use the tans in different places, as shown below.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Tangram Twister
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Materials
– spinners made with GeoRel3.BLM3:Tangram Twister Spinner, a paper clip, and a pencil
(1 spinner per group)
– number cubes with numbers 1 to 6 (1 per group)
– tangram sets (1 per group)
Have students play this game with two or three classmates. Tell students that each player,
in turn, spins the spinner and rolls the number cube. Explain that the spinner indicates
the type of shape the player needs to create; the number cube specifies the number of
tans the student must use to create the shape. For example, if the spinner lands on the
rectangle and the number cube indicates 2, the student needs to create a rectangle using
any two tans. Have students score a point each time they are able to create the shape.
If a student is unable to make a shape using the number of tans indicted by the number cube,
explain that the student does not score a point and the turn passes to the next player.
Suggest that the game ends when one player earns ten points.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
173
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Piece by Piece
Materials
– 1 three-dimensional figure made from Polydron pieces
– paper bag
– Polydron sets
Before this task, construct a three-dimensional figure (e.g., a triangular prism) by using
Polydron pieces and place it in a paper bag.
Show the bag to students and tell them that it contains a three-dimensional figure made
with Polydron pieces. Tell students that you are going to identify one face of the hidden
figure. Identify the face (e.g., a rectangle) and have students pick up a Polydron piece
with that shape. Then ask students to speculate on what the hidden figure might be.
Continue to ask students to pick up other Polydron pieces that are faces of the figure in
the bag. With each new Polydron piece, have students connect the pieces they have
gathered and make conjectures about the hidden figure.
Let students know when they have accumulated all the faces of the hidden figure, and
have them determine the hidden figure before you remove it from the bag.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Congruence Capers
Materials
– coloured tiles, tangram pieces, pattern blocks, or attribute blocks (3 or 4 per student)
– barrier (e.g., file folder, binder) (1 per pair of students)
Have students work with a partner. Ask students to construct a shape using three or
four colour tiles (tangram pieces, pattern blocks, attribute blocks) on one side of a
barrier so that their partner is unable to see the tiles. Explain that when students have
finished making a shape, they instruct their partner on how to create a congruent shape
on the other side of the barrier. Then, have students remove the barrier to check
whether the shapes are congruent.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Congruent or Non-congruent?
Materials
– 5 x 5 geoboards (1 per student)
– geobands (elastic bands) (1 per student)
Provide each student with a geoboard and a geoband. Instruct students to create a shape.
Select two geoboards, show them to the class, and ask, “Are these shapes congruent
or non-congruent?” Ask students to explain how they know whether the shapes are
congruent or non-congruent. Choose another two geoboard shapes and ask students
to judge whether the shapes are congruent or not.
With some of the non-congruent shapes, ask students to explain what they could do to
one shape to make both shapes congruent.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: GEOMETRIC RELATIONSHIPS
LEARNING CONNECTION 5
175
GeoRel3.BLM1a
Pattern Block Shapes – Hexagons
GeoRel3.BLM1b
Pattern Block Shapes – Triangles
GeoRel3.BLM1c
Pattern Block Shapes – Trapezoids
GeoRel3.BLM1d
Pattern Block Shapes – Squares
GeoRel3.BLM1e
Pattern Block Shapes – Large Rhombuses
GeoRel3.BLM1f
Pattern Block Shapes – Small Rhombuses
Dear Parent/Guardian:
We have been learning about combining
shapes to make larger shapes. For
example, two triangles can be arranged
to make a rectangle, as shown at right:
Here is an activity about combining shapes that you can do with
your child.
Cut out the triangles on the attached page. Ask your child to look
away so he or she cannot see what you are doing.
Arrange the shapes on a blank piece
of paper to make a single shape. Any
arrangement is acceptable. Next, use
a pencil to trace around the outside
of the arrangement to create a puzzle.
After you have traced around the
arrangement of triangles, remove
the triangles so that only the outline
of the shapes is visible.
Ask your child to look at the outline
and try to place the triangles so that
they fit inside the puzzle.
Give your child opportunities to create puzzles for you to solve.
Have fun solving the puzzles with the Tricky Triangles!
GeoRel3.BLM2a
Tricky Triangles
GeoRel3.BLM2b
Tricky Triangles
Make a spinner using this page, a paper clip, and a pencil.
Square
Triangle
Trapezoid
Parallelogram
GeoRel3.BLM3
Tangram Twister Spinner
Grade 3 Learning Activity: Location and Movement
BIG IDEA
Location and Movement
CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS
Students will:
• identify flips, slides, and turns, through investigation using concrete materials and
physical motion, and name flips, slides, and turns as reflections, translations, and
rotations (e.g., a slide to the right is a translation; a turn is a rotation).
MATERIALS
– a picture book about quilts, such as Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa
Campbell Ernst or Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt by Barbara Smucker
– 30 cm x 30 cm sheets of red, yellow, and blue construction paper (for teacher
demonstration)
– 30 cm x 30 cm square designs made from construction paper (resembling quilt squares);
these are made before explaining the task
Red
Red
Blue
Green
Green
Yellow
Blue
Blue
Yellow
Yellow
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Quite the Quilts
– pencils
– scrap paper (to design the squares)
– 10 cm x 10 cm sheets of construction paper (a variety of colours)
– scissors
– glue
– tape
– Loc3.BLM1: Quite the Quilts Game Board (1 per student)
– spinners made with Loc3.BLM2: Quite the Quilts Spinner, a paper clip, and a pencil
(1 spinner per pair of students)
– Loc3.BLM3a–b: Rotating Spoons (1 per student)
ABOUT THE MATH
Students in the primary grades begin to develop an understanding of transformational
geometry (the study of motion) as they explore translations (slides), reflections (flips),
and rotations (turns) with concrete materials.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
177
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
In grade 3, students learn about transformational geometry through a variety of
concrete learning experiences in which they experiment with and explore rotations
(turns), translations (slides), and reflections (flips).
In this task, quilts provide a context for investigating concepts about rotations. Students
experiment with quarter, half, three-quarter, and full turns, and examine the results of
each rotation. They learn that rotations are made around a point in one direction. They
discover that the orientation of a shape may change as a result of it being rotated. Since
this geometrical task is an early experience in performing and describing rotations, this
task has students performing rotations in the clockwise direction, which is more familiar
to students.
In grade 3, students are assessed on their abilities to identify and describe rotations
(turns), translations (slides), and reflections (flips), rather than on their skills in
performing these transformations accurately.
GETTING STARTED
Read a story about a quilt, such as Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa Campbell
Ernst (New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1983) or Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt by
Barbara Smucker (Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1995). Have students describe the quilts
illustrated in the story and explain how the quilts were created (i.e., by sewing together
small pieces of fabric to form identical quilt squares and then sewing together the
squares in an array). Show a quilt to students, if possible, and discuss how the quilt is
assembled. Ask students to describe patterns in the quilt.
Demonstrate to students how to create a paper quilt square:
• Fold a red 30 cm x 30 cm sheet of construction paper along its diagonals. Cut along the
folded lines to create four congruent triangles.
• Fold and cut a yellow 30 cm x 30 cm sheet of construction paper in the same way.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Yellow
Red
Blue
Show students other simple quilt square designs that you have made from construction
paper, such as those shown below. Discuss how the pieces of construction paper are glued
together to create each design.
Red
Red
Blue
Green
Green
Yellow
Yellow
Blue
Blue
Yellow
Tell students that they will construct four identical quilt squares using construction paper.
Ask students to first draw the design for their squares and to label each piece in the
design with its colour. Allow students to copy one of the designs you have shown or to
create a different simple design.
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
• Glue one yellow triangle and one red triangle onto a blue 30 cm x 30 cm piece of
construction paper as shown below:
Check to ensure that students have drawn a simple design, and then allow students to
collect the materials needed to create their four squares (10 cm x 10 cm sheets of
coloured construction paper, scissors, glue).
Monitor students’ work as they build their quilt squares. Assist students, if necessary,
to make identical squares.
When students have finished making their paper quilt squares, have the class investigate
rotations. Begin by drawing vertical and horizontal axes on the board.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
179
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Ask a student if you may borrow his or her four quilt squares. Tape one of the quilt
squares in the upper left quadrant on the board.
Hold a second quilt square directly on top the square taped to the board. Ask students,
“How could I rotate this quilt square onto the next (upper right) section?” Have student
volunteers show how to perform the rotation. Tape the quilt square in the upper right quadrant.
Quarter
Turn
Ask students, “Why would we call this rotation a quarter turn?” Liken the quarter turn
to the movement of the minute hand on a clock from the upright position to the quarterpast-the-hour position. Record “Quarter Turn” next to the square.
Next, hold a third square on top of the square taped in the top left quadrant (original
position). Ask a student to rotate the square a half turn. Tape the square in the correct
position in the bottom right quadrant. Record “Half Turn” next to the square. Ask students
to explain a half turn.
Quarter
Turn
Half
Turn
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
• “What do you need to think about when you make a quarter turn or a half turn?”
(the direction of the rotation, the degree of rotation)
• “Where is the rotation point on the board?” (where the two lines or axes intersect)
• “Which part of the square touches this point during a rotation?” (the bottom right
corner of the original square)
Have students demonstrate a three-quarter turn with the fourth square. Tape it in the
bottom left quadrant. Record “Three-Quarter Turn” next to the square. Ask students
to explain a three-quarter turn.
Full
Turn
Three-Quarter
Turn
Quarter
Turn
Half
Turn
Ask students to describe the result of a full or complete turn. Discuss how the square
would return to its original position after a complete rotation. Record “Full Turn” next
to the original square.
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
At this point in the lesson, ask students:
Remove the taped squares from the board and return them to the student. Invite other
students to demonstrate quarter, half, three-quarter, and full turns with their quilt
squares on the board.
WORKING ON IT
Ask a student to help you demonstrate the Quite the Quilts game.
• Have students play the game with a partner. Each player needs a copy of Loc3.BLM1:
Quite the Quilts Game Board.
• Tell both players to stack their four quilt squares in the Start quadrant of their own
game board. Players must orient all four squares in the same way.
• Explain that players take turns spinning the spinner (made from Loc.BLM2: Quite the
Quilts Spinner). After each spin, players rotate the top quilt square from the Start
quadrant clockwise onto another quadrant according to the kind of rotation indicated
by the spinner. For example, if the spinner indicates Half Turn, the player rotates the
top quilt square in the Start quadrant one half turn.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
181
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
Four Quilt Squares
Stacked in the
Start Position
Game Board at the
Beginning of a Game
Game Board After the
Top Quilt Square Has
Been Rotated a Half Turn
• Ask players to check their partner’s rotations to ensure that they have been
completed correctly.
• If the rotation indicated by the spinner has already been completed, the player may
not rotate a quilt square. The next player gets to spin.
• The game finishes when a player has covered all four quadrants of his or her game
board by completing each type of turn shown on the spinner.
Arrange students in pairs, and invite them to play the game.
After students have played the game a few times, ask them to glue their quilt squares onto
the Quite the Quilts game board to show quarter, half, three-quarter and full rotations.
REFLECTING AND CONNECTING
Have pairs of students share their completed game boards with another pair of students.
Then ask the pairs to volunteer to describe their Quite the Quilts game board to the class.
Ask students:
• “What strategy did you use to make sure you rotated the quilt squares correctly?”
(e.g., placing a finger on the corner of the square that touched the point of rotation,
and anchoring the corner as they rotated the square; visualizing how one part of the
square moves to a different position)
• “What patterns do you see in your quilt design?”
• “What are other examples of rotations in real life?” (e.g., cars making left or right
turns, figure skaters spinning, basketball players pivoting)
• “Is the rotation in each example a quarter, half, three-quarter, or full turn?”
Students could cut out the quilt squares from their game boards. Their individual quilt
squares could be combined in an array on a bulletin board to create a class quilt.
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A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
It may help these students to use a simple quilt-square design and to mark an X in the
corner that touches the point of rotation. After they have completed the rotations, they
can check to make sure that the X on each quilt square is still touching the rotation point,
as shown in the diagram.
XX
XX
Challenge students by having them rotate their quilt squares in a counterclockwise
direction. Or invite students to switch quilt squares with their partner in the Quite
the Quilts game.
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
ADAPTATIONS/EXTENSIONS
Some students may have difficulty performing rotations. Show these students how to
place a finger on the rotation point in order to anchor the corner of the quilt square as
they rotate it.
MATH LANGUAGE
– turn (rotation)
– quarter turn (rotation)
– half turn (rotation)
– three-quarter turn (rotation)
– full or complete turn (rotation)
– point of rotation
– clockwise
– counterclockwise
ASSESSMENT
Observe students and assess how well they:
• identify quarter, half, three-quarter, and full rotations.
HOME CONNECTION
Send home Loc3.BLM3a-b: Rotating Spoons. This Home Connection game helps to
reinforce students’ understanding of quarter, half, and three-quarter turns.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
183
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
LEARNING CONNECTION 1
Make the Other Half
Materials
– colour tiles (6 to 10 per student)
– Loc3.BLM4: Line of Symmetry (1 per pair of students)
Have students work with a partner. Tell one student to arrange six to ten colour tiles
in a pattern on one side of the line of symmetry on Loc3.BLM4: Line of Symmetry. Have
the partner complete the symmetrical design by placing the matching colour tiles on the
other side of the line of symmetry.
Ask students to explain how they know that the completed design is symmetrical.
LEARNING CONNECTION 2
Fancy Borders
Materials
– AppleWorks/ClarisWorks (Ministry-licensed software)
– computer(s)
Have students experiment with the rotation feature in the AppleWorks/ClarisWorks
drawing program. Allow students to select an image or create one of their own. By
selecting the Free Rotate option from the Arrange menu, students can experiment with
quarter, half, three-quarter, and full turns.
Explain to students that they can design a patterned border on their page by repeatedly
duplicating an image, rotating it, and dragging it into position. Have students explain how
they used quarter, half, three-quarter, and full turns to create the border.
184
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Pathways
Materials
– Loc3.BLM5: Pathways (1 per student)
– counters (1 per student)
Provide each student with a copy of Loc3.BLM5: Pathways and a counter. Tell students to
imagine that the counter represents a person.
Have students place the “person” in the school, then ask, “What pathway could the person
take to go from the school to the craft store?” Encourage students to explain pathways,
such as “down 1 space, then 3 spaces to the left”, and to move the counter accordingly.
Ask students to describe the pathways between other locations. Allow students to describe
different possible pathways for the same locations.
LEARNING CONNECTION 4
Right Side Up
Materials
– Loc3.BLM6: Right Side Up (1 per pair of students)
– scissors (1 per pair of students)
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
LEARNING CONNECTION 3
Provide each pair of students with Loc3.BLM6: Right Side Up, and have them cut out the
flowerpot cards. Tell students to scramble the cards, stack them, and deal each player
four cards, face down in a row. Explain that when all the cards have been dealt, players
flip over each card without rotating it in any way.
Appendix D: Grade 3 Learning Activities
185
GRADE 3 LEARNING ACTIVITY: LOCATION AND MOVEMENT
186
Explain that the object of the game is to have as many flowerpots as possible in an
upright position after three rounds. Each player is allowed one quarter turn, one half
turn, and one three-quarter turn per game in the following way:
• In the first round, students may rotate any card a quarter turn.
• In the second round, students may rotate any card a half turn.
• In the third and final round, students may rotate any card a three-quarter turn.
• Players may pass if they choose not to rotate a card.
• After the third round, have students check to see which player has more flowerpots
in an upright position.
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
Start
Loc3.BLM1
Quite the Quilts Game Board
Make a spinner using this page, a paper clip, and a pencil.
Full
Turn
Quarter
Turn
ThreeQuarter Turn
Half
Turn
Loc3.BLM2
Quite the Quilts Spinner
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Our class has been learning about turns (or rotations) including quarter turns, half turns,
and three-quarter turns.
Here is a game about rotations that you can play with your child. To play the game,
you will need:
– the cards cut from the attached page
– 4 spoons for each player
Shuffle the cards, and place them in a pile face down.
Place four spoons in front of you and four in front of your child. Each spoon must be
placed in one of these three positions:
The goal of the game is to be the first player to rotate his or her spoons so that they are
all in this position:
One after the other, turn over the top card and perform the kind of turn indicated on
the card. Players may rotate any one of their spoons. Players must rotate their spoons in
a clockwise direction. If all the cards in the pile are used, shuffle the cards again and
place them face down.
The game ends when one player has rotated all of his or her spoons so that they are in
the position illustrated above.
Loc3.BLM3a
Rotating Spoons
Quarter
Turn
Half
Turn
Three-Quarter
Turn
Quarter
Turn
Half
Turn
Three-Quarter
Turn
Quarter
Turn
Half
Turn
Three-Quarter
Turn
Loc3.BLM3b
Rotating Spoons
Loc3.BLM4
Line of Symmetry
Loc3.BLM5
Pathways
POOL
Pool
Park
School
CRAFT
STORE
Craft Store
PET STORE
Restaurant
LIBRARY
Pet Store
BOOK
STORE
Library
TOY STORE
Restaurant
FOOD
STORE
GIFT STORE
Book Store
Toy Store Gift Store Food Store
Loc3.BLM6
Right Side Up
Glossary
Note: Words and phrases printed in boldface italics in the following definitions are also defined in this glossary.
angle. The amount of rotation between two lines
for Kindergarten to Grade 3 in the Geometry and
that meet at a common point. See also vertex.
Spatial Sense strand of the Ontario curriculum
array. A rectangular arrangement of objects into
are properties of two-dimensional shapes and
rows and columns.
three-dimensional figures, geometric relationships, and location and movement.
circle. A two-dimensional shape with a curved
side. All points on the side of a circle are equidistant from its centre.
classify. Make decisions about how to sort or
categorize things. Classifying objects and num-
assessment. The ongoing, systematic gathering,
bers in different ways helps students recognize
recording, and analysing of information about
attributes and properties of objects and numbers,
a student’s achievement, using a variety of strate-
and develop flexible thinking.
gies and tools. Its intent is to provide the teacher
compose. Put together. In geometry, two-
with feedback that can be used to improve
dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
programming.
figures can compose larger shapes and figures.
attribute. A quantitative or qualitative character-
See also decompose.
istic of an object or a shape (e.g., colour, size,
concept. See mathematical concept.
thickness). See also property.
concrete material. See manipulative.
attribute blocks. A manipulative consisting
cone. A three-dimensional figure with a
of blocks that have different attributes, such
circular base and a curved surface that tapers
as shape, colour, size, and thickness.
to a common point.
base. In three-dimensional figures, the face that
context. The environment, situation, or setting
is usually seen as the bottom (e.g., the square
in which an event or activity takes place. Real-
face of a square-based pyramid, the circular face
life settings often help students make sense of
of a cone). In prisms, the two congruent and
mathematics.
parallel faces are called bases (e.g., the triangular
faces of a triangular prism).
congruence. The property of being congruent.
Two-dimensional shapes or three-dimensional
big ideas. In mathematics, the important concepts
figures are congruent if they have the same size
or major principles. For example, the big ideas
and shape.
187
congruent. Having the same size and shape.
geometry. The study of mathematics that
cube. A three-dimensional figure whose six
deals with the spatial relationships, properties,
faces are squares that are congruent.
movement, and location of two-dimensional
cylinder. A three-dimensional figure with
two parallel and congruent circular faces
and a curved surface.
decagon. A ten-sided polygon.
decompose. Take apart. In geometry, two-
shapes and three-dimensional figures. The
name comes from two Greek words meaning
earth and measure.
hendecagon. An eleven-sided polygon.
heptagon. A seven-sided polygon.
dimensional shapes and three-dimensional
hexagon. A six-sided polygon.
figures can be decomposed into smaller shapes
horizontal symmetry. Symmetry in which the
and figures. See also compose.
line of symmetry is horizontal. See also diagonal
diagonal symmetry. Symmetry in which the
symmetry and vertical symmetry.
line of symmetry is diagonal. See also horizontal
investigation. An instructional activity in
symmetry and vertical symmetry.
which students pursue a problem or exploration.
dodecagon. A twelve-sided polygon.
Investigations help students to develop problem-
edge. The line segment at which two faces of
a three-dimensional figure meet.
expectations. The knowledge and skills that
students are expected to learn and to demonstrate by the end of every grade or course, as
outlined in the Ontario curriculum documents
for the various subject areas.
extension. A learning activity that is related to
a previous one. An extension can involve a task
that reinforces, builds on, or requires application
of newly learned material.
solving skills, learn new concepts, and apply and
deepen their understanding of previously learned
concepts and skills.
irregular polygon. A polygon whose side or
angle measures are not equal. See also regular
polygon.
learning styles. Different ways of learning and
processing information. For instance, visual
learners need to see visual representations of
concepts. Auditory learners learn best through
verbal instructions and discussions, and by talking things through and listening to what others
face. A flat surface of a three-dimensional figure.
have to say. Tactile/kinaesthetic learners learn
figure. See three-dimensional figure.
best through a hands-on approach, and by
flip. See reflection.
exploring the physical world around them.
geoboard. A manipulative comprising a board
line of symmetry. A line that divides a shape
and pins (pegs) arranged in an array. Shapes can
into two parts that can be matched by folding
be created on a geoboard using plastic bands
the shape in half along this line.
(geobands).
manipulative. (Also called “concrete material”.)
geometric solid. A manipulative in the shape
An object that students handle and use in con-
of a three-dimensional figure. Common
structing their own understanding of mathemati-
geometric solids include spheres, cubes, prisms,
cal concepts and skills and in illustrating their
and pyramids.
understanding. Some examples are base ten blocks,
interlocking cubes, construction kits, number
188
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
cubes (dice), games, geoboards, hundreds charts,
parallelogram. A quadrilateral that has opposite
measuring tapes, Miras, number lines, pattern
sides that are parallel.
blocks, spinners, and colour tiles.
pattern blocks. A manipulative consisting of
mathematical concepts. The fundamental
six different kinds of blocks, each of a traditional
understandings about mathematics that a student
shape and colour: yellow hexagon, red trapezoid,
develops within problem-solving contexts.
green triangle, orange square, small beige
mathematical model. A representation of a
rhombus, and large blue rhombus.
mathematical concept using manipulatives,
pentagon. A five-sided polygon.
a diagram or picture, symbols, or real-life
pentomino. A manipulative consisting of
contexts or situations.
arrangements of five squares that are congruent
model. See mathematical model.
and joined along their sides. The following
Mira. A transparent mirror used to locate
diagram illustrates five of the twelve different
reflection lines, reflection images, and lines of
pentominoes.
symmetry, and to determine congruency and
line symmetry.
net. A pattern that can be folded to make a
three-dimensional figure.
nonagon. A nine-sided polygon.
non-standard shape. See non-traditional shape.
polygon. A closed shape formed by three or more
non-traditional shape. (Also called “non-standard
straight sides. Examples of polygons are triangles,
shape”.) A two-dimensional shape that might not
quadrilaterals, pentagons, and octagons. See
be identified easily because its form is different
also regular polygon and irregular polygon.
from a prototype (mental image) of the shape.
polyhedron. A three-dimensional figure that
See also traditional shape.
has polygons as faces.
prism. A three-dimensional figure with two
bases that are parallel and congruent. A prism
is named by the shape of its bases, for example,
rectangular prism, triangular prism.
Non-traditional triangles
problem solving. Engaging in a task for which
the solution is not obvious or known in advance.
octagon. An eight-sided polygon.
To solve the problem, students must draw on
orientation. Direction. The orientation of a shape
their previous knowledge, try different strategies,
may change following a rotation or reflection. Its
make connections, and reach conclusions. Learning
orientation does not change following a translation.
to solve problems by inquiry or investigation is
parallel. Extending in the same direction,
very natural for young students.
remaining the same distance apart. Parallel lines
property. A characteristic that determines (defines)
or parallel shapes never meet because they are
membership in a class. See also attribute.
always the same distance apart.
Glossary
189
pyramid. A three-dimensional figure with a
rotation. (Also called “turn”.) A transformation
single base that is a polygon and other faces that
that turns a shape around a fixed point. The
are triangles. A pyramid is named by the shape
shape does not change size or shape, but it may
of its base, for example, square-based pyramid,
change position and orientation.
triangle-based pyramid.
shape. See two-dimensional shape.
quadrant. One of the four regions formed
side. An outer boundary (a straight or curved
by the intersection of the x-axis and the y-axis
line) of a two-dimensional shape.
in a coordinate plane.
skeleton. A three-dimensional figure showing
y
Second
Quadrant
First
Quadrant
x
Third
Quadrant
Fourth
Quadrant
only the edges and vertices of the figure.
slide. See translation.
spatial sense. An intuitive awareness of one’s
surroundings and the objects in them.
sphere. A three-dimensional figure with a
curved surface. All points on the surface of a
quadrilateral. A four-sided polygon.
rectangle. A parallelogram with four right
angles. Opposite sides are equal in length.
rectangular prism. A three-dimensional figure
with two parallel and congruent rectangular
faces. The four other faces are also rectangular.
reflection. (Also called “flip”.) A transformation
that turns a shape over an axis. The shape does
not change size or shape, but it may change
position and orientation.
regular polygon. A closed shape in which all
sides and all angles are equal. See also irregular
polygon.
looks like a ball.
square. A quadrilateral that has four right
angles and four equal sides.
square-based pyramid. A three-dimensional
figure with a base that is square and four
triangular faces.
standard shape. See traditional shape.
strand. A major area of knowledge and skills.
In the Ontario mathematics curriculum for
Grades 1–8, there are five strands: Number Sense
and Numeration, Measurement, Geometry and
Spatial Sense, Patterning and Algebra, and Data
Management and Probability.
relationship. In mathematics, a connection
between mathematical concepts, or between
a mathematical concept and an idea in another
subject or in real life. As students connect ideas
they already understand with new experiences
and ideas, their understanding of mathematical
relationships develops.
rhombus. A quadrilateral with all sides equal
in length.
right angle. An angle that measures exactly
90 degrees.
190
sphere are equidistant from its centre. A sphere
surface. The outer boundary or layer of a
three-dimensional figure.
symmetry. The quality of a two-dimensional
shape having two parts that match exactly, either
when one half is a mirror-image of the other half
(line symmetry), or when one part can take the
place of another if the shape is rotated.
tangram. An ancient Chinese puzzle made
from a square cut into seven pieces: two large
triangles, one medium-sized triangle, two small
triangles, one square, and one parallelogram.
A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Geometry and Spatial Sense
three-dimensional figure. (Also called “figure”.)
triangle. A three-sided polygon.
An object having length, width, and depth.
triangle-based pyramid. A three-dimensional
Three-dimensional figures include cones, cubes,
figure with a triangular base and three triangular
prisms, cylinders, and so forth. See also two-
faces.
dimensional shape.
triangular prism. A three-dimensional figure
tiling. The process of using repeated congruent
with two parallel and congruent triangular faces
shapes to cover a region completely.
and three other rectangular faces.
traditional shape. (Also called “standard
two-dimensional shape. (Also called “shape”.)
shape”.) A two-dimensional shape that can be
A shape having length and width but not depth.
easily identified as a square, rectangle, triangle,
Two-dimensional shapes include circles,
and so on, because its form matches a prototype
triangles, quadrilaterals, and so forth. See also
(mental image) of the shape. Also called a stan-
three-dimensional figure.
dard shape. See also non-traditional shape.
transformation. A change in a shape that may
result in a different position, orientation, or size.
Transformations include translations, reflections,
and rotations.
translation. (Also called “slide”.) A transformation
that moves a shape along a straight line to a new
position in the same plane. The shape does not
turn. See rotation.
Venn diagram. A diagram consisting of overlapping circles used to show what two or more
sets have in common.
vertex. The common point of the segments
or lines of an angle or of edges of a threedimensional figure.
change size, shape, or orientation; it changes
vertical symmetry. Symmetry in which the
only its position.
line of symmetry is vertical. See also horizontal
trapezoid. A quadrilateral with at least one pair
symmetry and diagonal symmetry.
of parallel sides.
Glossary
191
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