As students learn the properties of two-dimensional shapes, use project-based learning to enable children to build and explore triangles, using different hands-on strategies. Whether students are beginning to identify triangles or are comparing specific types of triangles, these interactive math projects will help students become engaged as they continue to grasp geometrical concepts by working with triangles.
For young students beginning to learn shapes, use this photography project to help them identify examples of triangles they find during the day. Using digital cameras, have students take a tour around the school and playground to take pictures of any triangles they see. Students who have access to a camera at home can continue to collect pictures of triangles in everyday life, having their parent help them.
Help the students see that they can find triangles by looking at things such as cut up food, the architecture of buildings, street signs and even jewelry. After students have collected and printed their pictures, they can create a poster or collage that documents all the triangles they discovered.
Incorporate triangles into this creative map-making project for students who are learning about different types of lines and angles. Instruct the students to create a map of a fictitious place, following criteria based on the geometric concepts the students are learning.
For example, require the students to include two streets that intersect, so that the two streets form an obtuse angle. Incorporate triangles by adding a requirement for students to have an ice cream parlor in the shape of an equilateral triangle, a pool in the shape of a scalene triangle, and a pizza restaurant in the shape of an isosceles triangle.
As long as the students adhere to the requirements, give them the freedom to have fun with the project by choosing their town’s name, layout and a few special features.
Appropriate for a range of abilities, this open-ended activity enables students to build and categorize triangles, using a geo-board and rubber bands. Provide students with the geo-boards and rubber bands. Instruct them to build triangles according to specific criteria by asking them to make a right triangle or the biggest triangle possible on their geo-boards.
Next, challenge them to create as many different triangles as they can, recording the triangles by drawing them on dot-paper. Have the students sort their triangle drawings into different groups.
For example, younger students might separate big triangles from small triangles while older students separate scalene and obtuse triangles. Have the students document their thought process by creating a chart that displays their categorized triangle creations.
Pattern-Block Triangle Quilt
For an inquiry approach to learning about different triangles, have young students use pattern blocks to find out how many ways they can form triangles using the different block shapes. Let the students experiment with combining multiple triangles together to make a pattern.
Have them trace and color their patterns on a square piece of paper. Once completed, hang the student patterns side by side to create a class quilt, showing all the different triangular patterns the students created.
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