A slice of pizza is not a triangle! Exploring mathematical precision from the start.

We’ve been running our training session on Language of Maths in a few schools recently which includes the use of Frayer Models which have been discussed in previous blog posts.

When discussing language such as triangles and squares it is very common for the following things to happen:

  • Pupils to be provided with only REGULAR examples of shapes (e.g. a triangle with 3 equal sides and orientated so that the horizontal base is on the bottom, pentagon with 5 equal sides etc.).
  • Pupils to be provided with imprecise examples of shapes – in the triangle example, this might be showing them the musical instrument called a triangle or a slice of pizza… neither of which have the properties of a triangle.
  • Only naming rectangles where one pair of parallel sides is longer/shorter than the other pair.  A square is also a rectangle… just a special type of rectangle where all the sides are equal in length.  This means that a square is always a rectangle but a rectangle isn’t always a square.
  • Only sharing examples of the objects but not non-examples.  Using non-examples that are similar to the language/item you are trying to explore but not exactly the same can support pupils understanding.  By knowing what something is not, you can make better sense of what it is.

If pupils develop an imprecise understanding early on, this may cause problems in the future!

Take a look at this video with Doug Clements who explores this in more detail and then try to think about your own practice.   Click on the image of the video to be taken to the site where you can watch it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 12.52.38.pngWhat ideas related to understanding of shapes and their attributes are you supporting your pupils to make sense of through the activities you provide for them? 
Is there anything that you could improve on or that needs to change?

A thorough and correct understanding from the beginning is crucial if pupils are to have greater success with geometry later in their school careers but also to develop their spatial awareness which is vital in our everyday lives.

Take a look at these other two short videos of young pupils exploring shapes as well as making sense of examples and non-examples. Click on the image of the video to be taken to the site where you can watch it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 12.54.45.png

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 12.56.45.png

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2 Responses to A slice of pizza is not a triangle! Exploring mathematical precision from the start.

  1. Sandra MacDonald says:

    Hello

    I’m not really sure that this is the place to ask, but I’ve been looking for the Stepping Stones and Next Steps sheets which used to be on your website. I just wondered if they were still available?

    Kind Regards

    Sandra

    ________________________________

    Like

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