Nets with Pentominoes
I could see myself using this activity as an opener or warm-up activity. Using pentominoes seems to be a brain stimulator that could be useful in the beginning of the day. Another fun way to use this activity would be to have students create their own and share them with classmates.
When I was completing the activity, I could do some of the pentominoes with ease and others were confusing. I am not much of a visual person; therefore this was hard for me to think outside the box. However, after reading the article I had a little better understanding. Instead of just looking at them, I could process where I should begin. For my students, the only anticipated issue I would have is the fact that some students may have a hard time trying to “mentally” make a cube. The best way for teaching students about pentomioes would be actually cutting out one and showing them how it would fold into a cube. Some students may struggle with visualizing this activity.
*******How can we make this activity easier for students to visualize?
Spatial Reasoning, Annenburg, and Building Plans
Did you find any of these activities challenging? If so, what about the activity made it challenging?
I did not find any of these activities terribly challenging. The building plan was a very interesting concept for students to work through. This might become a little confusing for students because they may not realize that the goal is to not just fill into the cubes but must be stacked as well. I also think spatial reasoning can come a little challenging for students who to use there brain as a planning tool.
Why is it important that students become proficient at spatial visualization?
It is important for students to become proficient in spatial reasoning for a few reasons. The first and foremost reason is because students will need this skill for the rest of their life. When doing these activities, I could only think about the time that my husband and I were looking at houses. When I was considering which house to by I was thinking of furniture placement the whole time. This is a concept of spatial reasoning. Also, students will need this skill to plan activities and for some jobs later in their life.
At what grade level do you believe students are ready for visual/spatial activities? How can we help students become more proficient in this area?
I think at any grade level students can start working with visual and spatial activities. Each grade level will have a different level of proficiency that can be mastered. There are less challenging activities that students in grades such as kindergarten can achieve like designing buildings. This will help them become familiar with spatial. We can help students become proficient by providing them with an adequate amount of activities that relate to visual and spatial concepts.
******Were any of these activities a challenge for you?
Instead of visiting a toy store, I simply took a walk down Wal-Mart’s game isle. I was very amazed to find so many games that were using geometry. In realty, children are using shapes for most games and are moving their players along squares. Students are learning that as they move their player then becomes “blank” squares away from winning. In a sense this is similar to area concepts and how many spaces they are away. Also, in games such as scrabble we are seeing different pentominoes without even realizing it. Games such as this could be used during math rounds or indoor recess.
I can truly say that tangrams are a little challenging for those who have to process information. I found that I spent a large amount of time mixing around my tangrams even to create my first square. It is a challenge to use all the pieces as well for making shapes from other shapes. Sometimes I saw a shape with only using some of the tangrams rather than all that were given. I think before teaching with tangrams, students should have the opportunity to explore with them and figure out how they would and what they are used for. Even kindergarteners could make silly pictures from tangrams to begin understanding their use.