Geometry Ideas

Most pupils enjoy geometry but unfortunately it is an area that can be easily forgotten when it is introduced a couple of times per year and there is no overlap when looking at other areas of the curriculum.

It is also an area in which pupils who struggle with other areas of curriculum can sometimes excel - another reason for not being too rigid when grouping pupils... 

Properties

 

Pupils need time to investigate the properties of shapes rather than simply being told them: provide lots of opportunities for pupils to sort shapes so that they notice similarities in properties and to also create shapes by providing them with the properties and construction materials. Straws and pipe cleaners are excellent materials for creating 3D shapes and these can be used even by young pupils. By focusing on the properties first when constructing, rather than a visual image, pupils are much more likely to remember the different shapes.  

 

It is also important to use reasoning activities, where pupils have to really think about properties such as asking whether the following statements are true or false: Is a square a rectangle? Is a rectangle a square? Pupils then have to justify their answers.

Activities where pupils have to identify the headings for particular groups of shapes is a useful activity since pupils need to focus on the properties of the shapes within the group.

Take apart packaging in the form of 3D shapes so that pupils can see the nets, after they have sketched what they think the net will look like.   

Images

 

The majority of posters display polygons as regular shapes which are oriented vertically or horizontally. Make sure that your pupils are also as familiar with irregular shapes to avoid them staring blankly when you draw irregular shapes and ask pupils to name them. A similar problem can occur when shapes are oriented at different angles so it is also worthwhile familiarising pupils with a large variety of images.

 

Ensure pupils are aware that a line of symmetry results in a shape having matching points on either side of the mirror line which are equidistant from the mirror line. Creating half shapes with a mirror line on the playground using chalk and getting another pair of pupils to draw the remaining half of the shape reinforces the idea of matching points.

 

Encourage pupils to estimate the size of angles prior to measuring with a protractor so that they can check if their measurement is sensible and that they have used the correct scale.

 
 

Angles

 

Pupils sometimes think it is the length of the arm, or the size of the arc which denotes the angle, which determines the size of the angle. Use movement such as geostrips and books opening and closing to emphasise the amount of turn.

Encourage pupils to estimate the size of angles prior to measuring with a protractor so that they can check whether their measurement is sensible and that they have used the correct scale. 

Language

 

Link the language of position and direction to English by creating activities where pupils have to give and act upon instructions using the required language.

Some shape language can confuse pupils such as the face of a 3D shape, when they are used to an alternative meaning and some pupils assume that right angles can only occur on the right of a shape. 

 

Describe a shape for the pupils to sketch, using terms that you are focusing on. 

Active Activities

In PE, or while waiting in line, give pupils the task of working in pairs to create an image of parallel or perpendicular lines or turning through various rotations in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Older pupils can use their arms to estimate a certain angle size. Larger groups of pupils can create shapes which are symmetrical or are reflections or translations of each other particularly when carrying out activities in gymnastics.

Programming robots to follow instructions to create shapes and images is a fun and effective way of applying geometrical knowledge.

 

Ensure pupils are aware that a line of symmetry results in a shape having matching points on either side of the mirror line which are equidistant from the mirror line. Creating half shapes with a mirror line on the playground using chalk and getting another pair of pupils to draw the remaining half of the shape reinforces the idea of matching points.

Create basic clinometers using a 45 set square, with a straw attached to the hypotenuse, and let pupils hold this horizontally while looking through the straw in order to measure the heights of objects, such as trees. The height of the object will be equal to the distance along the ground to the object (since the set square is an isosceles triangle) plus the distance from the ground to the pupil's eye.   

Use large pieces of elastic (as used in waistbands) around pupils' ankles so that groups of students can create required 2D shapes.

Allow time to create nets which can then be assembled into packaging for objects, which links effectively with measures.

 

 
 
 

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© 2018 by Mathsmoves