Here is an activity I made that I am going to use for geometry. I plan on using it the second day after we do some critical thinking the first day. I am totally fine with the students not knowing vocabulary at this point but it is interesting to see what they know as well as how they can communicate. What is great about this though is that you can use it as your first day geometry activity as well.
Here is how this works….
- Each student pairs up with someone. One of the partners receives one of the two pictures from below. You are not allowed to show your partner the picture! (Note: I have two pictures so pairs sitting right next to each other cannot just listen to another pair’s discussions.
- Students put up some sort of a divider in-between each other
- When it is time to start one partner will draw the picture while the other student must only give directions and is not allowed to use hand gestures.
- After some time I give the second set of pictures shown below and have the students switch roles. I usually pause before the students switch roles so they can talk about general strategy or things they thought were effective in at least getting them close to the pictures that were provided.
I think I read someone else doing this on a blog or something after they learned material so I made it my own. I actually like doing it before as it is fun to watch students squirm to explain how to draw something geometrical. I use this to springboard into the fact that we need a common language and it is hard for us to do something like this if we are only using words. Geometry, and math in general, has its own language and it can be really cool…but if we are all now speaking it the same way then it makes life difficult. Just like if you were in a language class and kept conjugating verbs incorrectly when you speak, it makes everyone kind of cringe. That same applies to this class as well. It makes sense for the kids as to why we need to then learn what a line or a point is and how to talk about them. I also hear students say things like “draw an equilateral triangle” and I ask where they have heard and how do they know it is equilateral. (Usually get something like “because it looks that way”) This helps me stress the importance of vocab and that they must precise on their definitions!
I also like to then do this a few weeks later (kids keep asking to do it all year because they think it is fun and probably don’t realize it lets me listen and focus on which students have mastered the vocabulary) and it really helps me assess my students in an informal way. Here is the second set that I give when the students switch…though this is much tougher mostly because one of them has a plane. The circle one seemed to be easier. I hope that if you use this, that your students will have as much as mine did. I am sure my honors kids this year will also enjoy it. Of course, you can always make your own pictures and use whatever makes sense for you. It was easiest for me just to draw the two figures on a piece of paper, and then cut them in half and boom…easy instant lesson that hits a lot of things I want!
This can also be a great first day geometry activity that motivates learning the terms. SO MUCH FUN!