Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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SCIENCE ACTIVITIES: The Armadillo Indicator | Construction Challenge Activity | Exploratory Walk | More Science Activities
MATH ACTIVITIES: The Outline of Things | Fractional Parts the "Tan" Way | Building Viewpoints | More Math Activities

This math activity is from the Math for All video series.
Tape 8 - "Shapes in Space", Activity #1
The physical world around us is filled with many geometric shapes or figures and children begin to notice the various shapes around them long before they enroll in school. When we ask them questions about sizes, shapes and positions, we're encouraging them to inquire about shapes in space. If you let your children handle objects and ask them to look for differences and similarities between them, you're helping them acquire knowledge and appreciation of the world around them. One of the earliest activities you can do with your children is to have them match common household items to outlines which you have traced.

several shopping bags or newsprint
geometrically shaped
household items






In this activity... your children will match common household items to outlines which you have traced on the back of a shopping bag. Start by finding a variety of household items that are easily recognized as geometric shapes like—squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. Look closely at many items. Some jars will have a circle at the top, and a square on the bottom. Trace items on shopping bags or other available paper. Have your children match and name the items.

Did you know...
  • That it isn't necessary for children to name more complicated shapes. It's more important that children become aware of shapes as they find them in their environment. If they have experienced them in that way, the names will soon follow.

  • That during outings with your children you can ask questions about windows and dooors of houses and buildings, the tiles on the floor and all the different combinations of shapes that are around us everywhere.

  • That some shapes are used more often than others? What might be the reason? Why don't you see more circular shapes on floors? Why don't we have square or triangular wheels? Why are most windows square or rectangular?

  • That there is a wealth of questions you can ask your children when you take them for an outing—and I bet it won't occur to them or you that you're talking mathematics.

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