This was an interesting video that made a very valid point. As the students were doing the activity, I tired the activity as well. When drawing the moon like shape, I drew the shape facing the wrong way. I noticed that the students were describing the shape as things that they use everyday. Some students said that it reminded them of a moon, a cantaloupe, or a half of a circle. The students were trying to make sense out of the shape by relating it to personal experience and their world around them. One student had mentioned that he just thought about the shape and remembered it was a crescent. I was impressed with the variety of ways that students visualized this shape.
Considering geometry, what do you think is the purpose of the video’s activity?
Geometry could truly be considered the mathematics that we live in. Geometry is in fact everywhere we go and all around places we live. For instance, at this very moment I am sitting in my bedroom. To my left I look to the shelf I have hanging on my wall. I can soon tell that there is a repeated pattern on a rectangular prism. Meanwhile, my TV is on and it is a rectangular shape. I can count three square shaped candle shelves hanging on my walls. As well as a jewelry hanger that contains four similar rectangles. The steps for my dog to climb could make triangles if I laid something over it. Our world is full of shapes; we just have to take a moment to investigate for them.
What shape do you notice most in your bedroom?
After reviewing the case studies, I have mainly come to one big realization. That is children will have their own perceptions about shapes before we even teach them geometry. The case studies were based on how children were learning different shapes. Many of the children struggled with definitions and visualizing shapes at a different angle. I found that when teaching geometry, the best way to begin is to learn what the students already know. One child in the case study could not wrap his head around a turned triangle because “it wasn’t the triangles he was used to”. This brings me to the conclusion that students need to see more examples of triangles rather than one standard “this is it”. Rather than teaching definitions such as ” a three sided shape”, we need to be teaching our students real attributes of triangles. Students need to understand that no matter what size or angle measure a triangle is, then it still is a triangle. Children also need to learn about attributes to tell the difference between a square and a rectangle. The definitions of these two shapes are the same, however their attributes tell a different story!
How might you clear your students from definition only learning?