Monday Made It #2

Oh…popsicle sticks!  These really great tongue depressors left me a little “down in the mouth.”  I’m dying to do something really great, and a wonderful idea does not even pop into my head.

What has been percolating in my head is that I teach fourth grade and our district’s math program is Everyday Math.  For those of you who teach using this series, you know that the very first unit in the book is GEOMETRY! My kiddos love it and we all spend plenty of time learning to identify polygons.  We master identification of polygons, and then we take our first MAP assessment.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “Magic of MAP testing,” let me tell you…it’s completed on the computer and the teacher just “surfs” the room, looking over shoulders and watching her sweeties do some pretty amazing things…and, at times, some pretty unfortunate things.

So…how does all of this play into my Monday Made It?  Well…even a mere two weeks after the infamous GEOMETRY unit, where mastery reigned supreme, the brain trust in my classroom will identify a five-sided polygon as an OCTAGON!   ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  As I walk past these testers and see the mistakes they are about to make, there is a smallish part of me (this is a lie, since I have to hold myself back with my entire being!) that wants to jump toward the computer, child, and the offending finger that is about to push the “enter” key and stop the madness while providing a quick refresher course on GEOMETRY.

Trust me…the winter and spring MAP testing is remarkably the same…including the ugly GEOMETRY responses.

My partner-in-crime, the Wonderful Linda, and I have since decided that we must provide copious amounts of GEOMETRY to just about everything we do.  We need to constantly have GEOMETRY activity centers and reinforcement games in place throughout the year…so there will be no more misidentification of polygons.

This is where the popsicle sticks/tongue depressors come in really handy.

Using my handy-dandy hole punch and a few decorative brads, I was able to put together some swell manipulatives that will allow my students to explore the “Wild and Wonderful World of Polygons” using some pre-fab polygons that can be manipulated into a multitude of polygons, both regular and irregular.

Here’s a look at what I did…

These are pretty versatile and can be used “differently.”  For instance, the five-sided figure can be manipulated into a trapezoid.  Play around…I know that you’ll find other polygons that your students need to be able to identify!

I know…geoboards are terrific for activities like this and I adore them in the large group setting or when I am working in small groups with my sweeties.  Everyday Math has a love affair with straight straws of varying lengths and connected with twist ties.  Again, this is terrific in the large group and with smaller groups that I am working directly with.

I have other things in mind, like smaller centers where students can work independently or in pairs.  In fourth grade, we have a name for things like straws, wires, and rubber bands…weapons!  In the wrong hands, these well-intentioned manipulatives and stations can become treacherous…not to mention a parent phone call away from ending the day on a high note…

So, the picture is pretty self-explanatory and it partners nicely with the handouts that I have created and stashed for you to use.  My guess is that is you are a scrapbooker like I am, you’ll have the brads and hole punch on hand and at the ready.  I was really pleased to be able to raid my stash and keep the cost low.

Wild About Polygons

Don’t forget to make a set for you and a set for a friend (like the Wonderful Linda).

P.S.  If you came up with another great way to use these sticks, please post and link back here!  I’d love to see what you came up with!

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