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.
February 25, 2019
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.
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