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.
July 29, 2019
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.
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.
Cutting paper hearts for Valentine’s Day math fun is a common, early experience with symmetry for many young children.
Thinking about sandwiches cut in half leads this boy to explore shape composition and equivalence with blocks.
For kids books, geometry doesn't have to just be reciting the shapes. Here are books that can begin rich geometrical discussions.
This third grade teacher leads a gallery walk with her students with the purpose of having children explain their thinking with peers.
Apps for kids can provide a unique opportunity for social engagement, allowing children to collaborate with their parents or peers while learning.