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What Is It?

Geometryis the study of two- and three-dimensional figures. It includes defining the different figures, as well as describing their location and movement in space. In the primary and intermediate grades, this study includes activities such as identifying, comparing, classifying, and building plane and solid figures; specifying the location of figures on coordinate grids; exploring congruency and similarity; checking for symmetry; and investigating the effects of slides, flips, and turns on figures.

Why Is It Important?
Geometry helps us understand and describe the world around us. Geometric concepts are used in architecture, engineering, astronomy, art, navigation, sports, furniture design, toy making, road buildingthe list goes on and on. Children are engaged in geometric thinking when they choose the shortest path to the playground, pack food and drink containers into their lunch boxes, and grapple with how to maximize the number of cutouts from a sheet of construction paper.

How Can You Make It Happen?
It is very important that a hands-on approach is taken in learning geometry. Students should be given many opportunities to identify examples of points, lines, angles, and planes in the world around them. Students should participate in many activities where they make, take apart, and manipulate both plane and solid figures. Students can compare and classify figures using pattern blocks, paper cutouts, and real-world items such as chalk, boxes, and balls; check for congruency by placing one figure on top of another; identify symmetry by using mirrors and folding paper figures; slide, flip, and turn paper cutouts to explore the results of these transformations; and fold and tape nets to create their corresponding solid figures. These kinds of kinesthetic experiences are necessary for students to progress to the visualization and abstract thinking skills required of them as they continue the study of geometry in the higher grades. The vocabulary used to describe students' experiences in geometry should become more and more precise as students move through the grades so they have the vocabulary necessary to convey their thinking clearly-what may be called "square corners" in the primary grades becomes "right angles" in intermediate grades; likewise, "turning the figure halfway around" becomes "rotating the figure 180 degrees."

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How Can You Stretch Students' Thinking?
For students to internalize accurately what plane and solid figures are, they need to be shown examples as well as non-examples of the figures. Understanding what a triangle is and is not, a student can then identify triangles in different orientations, whether they are represented "sitting" on a side, balanced on a "point" or vertex, or rotated to be positioned somewhere in between. As students understand the essential attributes of figures, they can begin to understand relationships among figures: a square is a special kind of rectangle and a special kind of rhombus; and each of these-square, rectangle, and rhombus-is a quadrilateral.

Have students point out which objects and animals are drawn using simple geometric shapes. copy machines. carts. Writing For primary grades. TryDesigning a Quilt Pattern.andslide image. Students can create riddles and have other students guess the object that is described. and Piet Mondrian. Math Geometry can be used throughout mathematics lessons. For intermediate grades. for any given volume. as they study them. have students study maps of their neighborhood or town and use the coordinates given in the indices to locate streets and familiar landmarks. discuss shapes with students. is a sphere. Encourage them to draw examples and non-examples of each. have students keep geometryjournalsin which they define concepts. Brainstorm a list of items that have wheels and discuss how aspects of students' lives. such as how they get to school and what they do for recreation. and pack into boxes. line up on shelves. . In intermediate grades. orGeometry. have students read about differentcareers. assumes the shape that has the least surface area for the volume of gas or liquid it contains.When can you use it? Reading/English For primary grades. For example. a bubble. and book-drop boxes might have to be designed differently to accommodate these differently shaped books. have students identify shapes found in the world around us. For intermediate grades. as a rectangular cover could. Discuss how the shape of books makes them easy to stack. and discuss how the job-related skills may or may not include geometry. quadrilateral. Color. and that shape. Find examples of objects that are composite figures (made up of two or more different shapes) and list all the shapes used in each figure.Tessellations. a manhole cover is round so that it can't fall into the manhole. and triangles. such as firefighting and architecture. Have students propose other shapes for books and brainstorm how library equipment such as shelves. In intermediate grades. Social Studies In primary grades. have students describe plane figures such as circles. Science In primary grades. and identify shapes the artist uses to illustrate the story. Discuss reasons for objects having a particular shape and size. such asparallel. discuss wheels. would be different if the wheel had not yet been invented. like a balloon. squares. identify geometric shapes in picture books.

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