Everything in the material world has shape. In mathematics, the focus is very much on regular shapes, such as the two-dimensional circle, triangle, and rectangle and the three-dimensional solids known as spheres and polyhedrons. In our everyday world, these solids commonly appear in objects we describe as boxes, pyramids, blocks, cylinders, and balls. A deeper knowledge about how two- and three-dimensional shapes are defined and relate to one another will help educators be aware of subtle distinctions and rules. Such an understanding allows educators to notice and highlight children’s key discoveries and to guide their experiences to make this knowledge explicit for them. © Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
September 11, 2020
Stamping or imprinting with a homemade playdough recipe using everyday household items is an active way for children to explore the big ideas of shape.
En Español También. Putting groceries away is necessary work for families. Sharing this work with our children turns an everyday task into a hands-on shape activity.
En Español También. Going for walks is an excellent time to talk about math with your child. You’ll be surprised how much math talk you can have when you look for the math in your very own neighborhood.
Books can illustrate kindergarten and preschool shape concepts while introducing foundational Big Ideas of math. These activity cards can help take the learning to the home environment where parents and caregivers can spark such discussion.
It’s up to us to find, share, and talk about a variety of shapes with children in ways that expand their understanding and build connections between the shapes drawn on paper and the concrete objects in our world.
A tangram puzzle consists of seven pieces — five triangles and two quadrilaterals made from one square. Tangrams originated in China hundreds of years ago. They traveled to Europe in the 1800’s, where they gained…
Examining sets of unit blocks challenges educators to think about relationships of the blocks. A deeper understanding of the features of unit blocks empowers teachers to support children in ways that promote joyful math learning.
This child successfully attempts to match geo-solids using triangular prism-shaped blocks. Focus on the Child videos are taken from one-on-one interviews with individual children. The interviews are designed to elicit evidence of children’s mathematical thinking. They are not teaching episodes or formal assessments.
Instructor Lisa Ginet explains how to make tangram puzzles, an ancient Chinese game made from seven shapes cut from a square. Over 6500 different arrangements can be made from these seven simple shapes!
This delightful book emphasizes several Big Ideas in geometry, as well it provides an opportunity to explore diverse cultures and people.