Three Great Geometry Games
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Math is a subject that can be stretched across a variety of learning media. Read on to see how you can take teaching math standards and assessing your students' understanding into new territories.
Math riddles are great! Students take an assigned shape and describe it in as many ways they can while a partner makes a guess based on the given clues. This gives students the opportunity to analyze and confirm what they know about a shape. Here’s an idea to try in your classroom:
Assign students partners.
Place folded pieces of paper with names of shapes written on them in a container. Have one student (player one) pick a piece of paper at random.
Each student has to create a riddle that contains at least three clues about the given shape.
Play the game by having partners take turns figuring out which shape is being described.
Kick it up a Notch!
This two-player game can quickly become a class activity by having students make audio recordings of their clues. Working with the same partner, have each pair create a recording of their clues for a shape.
As the facilitator of this task, you will need a check-off system to make sure every group is not creating a recoding for the same shape. Have a list of shape options on the board and cross each one off as students decide which one they plan to record. This same list can be used when students listen to recordings and need to know which shapes they can choose from to answer with.
Use the app Croak.it! to record the students sharing their clues. Once recorded, there is an option to share after the 'done' button is pushed. Under sharing options, you'll find a hyperlink of the recording. Copy and paste the hyperlink to a QR code creator website. QRstuff is the one I use most frequently. Top Teacher Blogger Christy Crawford wrote a wonderful post on using QR codes in the classroom. This is a great go-to resource!
Once you have created your QR codes, number them and hang them up around your classroom. Give each student a copy of the handout. Their job is to scan the QR codes that are posted, listen to the clues they hear, and write down the name of the shape being described.
These can be reviewed as a class or can be turned in for individual assessment based on listening skills.
I Have, Who Has?
This classic game is a hit in our classroom! It can be used to review concepts of all kinds (math vocabulary, science, grammar, characters from a novel, etc.).
Here is how it can be used for geometry:
Assign each student five different shapes (e.g. square, right triangle, rhombus, rectangle, pentagon).
Allow students to create game cards using four-by-six-inch index cards (game cards should contain each "I Have____, Who has____ ? statement per card).
Have students work in small groups of four to six to play each other's cards. Only one set of cards can be played at a time. Every person in the group should have at least one of the I Have, Who Has? cards from the deck being played. The card that says, "This is the first card." is where the game starts. The card that says, "This is the last card" is where the game ends. The small groups can take turns playing each persons set of I Have, Who Has? cards.
Card one could read: "I have the first card. Who has the quadrilateral with only one pair of parallel sides?" Card Two could read," I have a trapezoid. Who has the triangle with no congruent sides? Card Three could read, "I have a scalene triangle. Who has the polygon with six sides and six angles? Card Four could say, " I have a hexagon. Who has an angle that measures less than 90 degrees? Card Five could read," I have an acute angle. This is the end of the game.
In the group setting, students can mix up their set of cards before distributing to their group mates. If they leave them in order, the answers go around the circle in order instead of at random.
Students are excellent critics. They go into detailed discussions about what words should have been used to describe the shape and why. Students respond better to a peer critique than they do a teacher correction.
Geometry Scavenger Hunt
This last idea has been my favorite to see in action so far.
Pass out a list of geometry terms covered in class.
Invite students to find the shapes in the real world.
Students turn in a visual representation of what they find.
Have students work as partners to complete the task. (You’d be amazed to see the conversations that come up when they can’t decide which shape the object actually represents.)
If you have devices, have students use this fantastic app, PicCollage. (PicCollage prints can be processed as photos and posted around the room.) If you have students that are not interested in the technology route, they can create a scrapbook page with images they find in magazines and newspaper ads.
Learning becomes real and exciting when we can relate it to something we know and understand. I find my students enjoy a topic more when they can take the time to truly explore it in a variety of ways and share their learning with others. These three tasks are a wonderful way to add excitement to any topic.
Thank you for reading.