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Learning Math: Geometry

What Is Geometry? Part A: Quick Images (10 minutes)

Session 1, Part A

Picturing, both on paper and in your mind, is an important part of geometric reasoning. You can learn the mathematics of making accurate drawings, drawings from which you can reason. You can also learn to pay more attention to the geometry you see and to visualize with your mind.

This activity works best when done in groups. Go to Note 2 for suggestions for doing the Quick Images activity with a group.

If you are working alone, consider asking a friend or colleague to work with you. Otherwise, print the following shapes found on page 19 of the session guide onto separate pieces of paper and then put them aside for a while. Work on something else so that you can forget the shapes. When you are ready to begin the activity, put a shape face down in front of you. Pick it up and look at it for three seconds; then put it face down. Try to draw the shape from memory. Lift the shape for another three seconds; then put it face down again. Revise your original drawing if you think it necessary. Finally, turn the shape over and compare it to your drawing. You can repeat this activity with several shapes.

Quick Images Activity:


Problem A1

For each image, what did you notice the first time you saw the shape? What features were in your first pictures?


Problem A2

What did you miss when you first saw each shape? How did you revise your pictures?


Quick Images Activity and Problems A1 and A2 adapted from Russell, Susan Jo; Clements, Douglas H.; and Samara, Julie. Quilt Squares and Block Towns. In Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, Grade 1 (pp. 18-19, 193, and 210). Copyright © 1998 by Dale Seymour. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc.


Problem A1

Answers will vary. For example, in the first image, did you notice where the bisectors met? Did you notice that each of the sides is the same length? Did you see this shape as a hexagon with two bisectors or as two triangles and two diamonds? Did you see this as a flat or a three-dimensional shape (a cube with a top and side missing)?

Problem A2

Answers will vary. See sample answer to Problem A1.



Note 2

If you are working in a group, you can decide to do this as a facilitated activity instead of the Interactive Activity. Choose one member of the group to act as facilitator. The facilitator should prepare overheads or large drawings of the figures in the activity (or similar ones she creates herself). Then she should show the figures to the group for only three seconds, ask them to draw the figure from memory, show it again for another three seconds, and then ask them to correct their drawings. She may, if she chooses, change the orientation of one or more of the figures the second time she shows it.

Series Directory

Learning Math: Geometry


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • ISBN: 1-57680-597-2