Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Creating polygons in the classroom

Hey, it's MissMathDork here and I want to tell you about how I use Anglegs in my classroom!  

What? you haven't heard of Anglegs?  Anglegs are sturdy little plastic strips that easily snap together to form plane geometric shapes.  They come in 6 different colors - each color representing a different length.  From my experience, students are drawn to the fun. building block nature of this manipulative.

When I first use a manipulative with my kiddos, I like to give them some time to play an explore.  By doimg, they get the play out of their system and are less likely to "stray" off course when we are working on our activity.  

After giving the kiddos about 5 minutes of "free play", I asked them to separate their legs by color.On this particular day, we only started out with 4 colors. 
 Whenever we bring out a manipulative that doesn't get used all the time, I like to ask some questions about how to use it.  In this particular case, I asked what they noticed about the legs that were the same color.  They had were pretty quick to pick up that they were the same length.  After some prodding, they even used the word congruent. 

I asked them to prove to me that they were the same length and one student put his legs like this. 
 In their core 5th grade class, the students were working on naming quadrilaterals.  I knew the students were strugging with the sheer amount of vocabulary, so I started asking them to build so I could see exactly what each of them knew.

First, I asked them to create a quadrilateral. I gave them 30 seconds to create their figure (and made sute to tell them to keep it super secret!) and then did the 3.2.1. show me what you know countdown! 

... and I wasn't disappointed!  They knew quadrilaterals had 4 sides!  

Next I asked them to create a parallelogram.  After our countdown, and seeing as though not everyone was completely on target with a parallelogram, we worked through examples as a class and decided that a parallelogram had to have 2 sets of parallel lines.  

 And then we classified our plane figures as paralleograms and NOT parallelograms

Then we moved onto rectangles:
(note: normally I wouldn't just move on so quickly, but remember, i'mdoing a formative assessment to see what they know so that I can prepare for the following lessons and activities).

Same deal:  30 seconds, super secret..... me what you know!

Once I saw the figures, I broke out the handy-dandy protractor that comes with the angles - it snaps to the vertex!

Again, we talked about what makes a rectangle a rectangle.... ah, a rectangle is a paralleogram with 4 right angles!  Then we used our protractors to adjust.

By this time, our 30 minutes was quickly dwindling to an end... so it was clean up time.  And here's a tip I've learned...
 ...snap 4 of each color together on one end in ascending order.  This makes grabbing a student set super easy next time! AND, it's also an easy way to make sure you have all of your legs before putting them up!

Since this lesson, my kiddos have worked on quadrilateral acitivies and we have continued to create on a daily basis. As a class, we are now 100% accurate on quadrilateral, parallelogram, rectangle, square, and rhombus.  However, now I through in kinks such as rhombus that is not a square, or a rectangle combined with a rhombus.   Just chaning the wording up a little really stretches their brains.  

Have you used Anglegs?  What are some of your favorite manipulatives to use in your math classroom?

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  1. I haven't seen these before, but I pinned your post so I could find it later. Thanks.

  2. I just jumped onto Amazon to see what a set would cost and was excited to see that I can get a 74 piece set for $15!!! So I am ordering two sets :) Thank you for sharing!


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