In the early grades, students start recognizing, naming, and drawing shapes. As students become more advanced, geometry becomes more complicated. Utilizing storyboards is an excellent way for students to show what they have learned, manipulate shapes, build shapes from segments and other shapes, and create charts or other graphic organizers to arrange information about properties or characteristics.
Geometry is a chance for visual and spatial reasoning skills to develop or flourish. Shifting a shape to a different orientation may give some students the ability to finally see that acute angle or tell if those two sides are really the same length. One benefit to using Storyboard That is that students are able to rotate objects. The rotating tool is great for precise movement, or use the flip or rotate 90 degree buttons to get a quick new look at the same shape.
By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!
In the Triangle Chart, it is clear that the shapes stay the same even if they are turned around. Students may turn their papers or notebooks around at any time if they need to get a different view of a shape or angle.
Beginning geometers sometimes struggle making their pencils follow their thoughts. A point of frustration is not being able to create the shape they are trying to make because of lack of practice or difficulties with motor control. While they are learning to draw different shapes, students can use Storyboard That to demonstrate their knowledge. Spider Maps, Frayer Models, or T-Charts are great ways for students to show information they have learned.
[Math/Content/K/G/B/4] Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/"corners") and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length).
[Math/Content/4/G/A/1] Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.
In geometry, there is a lot of new vocabulary for students to master. Not only do they need to identify shapes such as rectangle and triangle, but they need to be able to identify parts, such as base, leg, obtuse angle, vertex, and more! Build charts, such as the one below, for students or with students, to help them organize new concepts and have a point of reference for review.
Students recognize squares, circles, and triangles easily enough, but words such as “ray” and “perpendicular” are usually new terms. These unfamiliar words are also fundamental in understanding more complicated geometry. Keep charts clean and simple as much as possible. If the example pictures on the chart are too distracting, try a separate slideshow with multiple examples as you go over new words with your group or class.
Suggested Beginning Geometry Terms
A single location in space or on a flat surface
A collection of points that continues forever in both directions
[Math/Content/2/G/A/1] Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces.1 Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.
[Math/Content/3/G/A/1] Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals). Recognize rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of these subcategories.
Students will already be familiar with many, many shapes, but they may not know the mathematical names. One simple way to start is to identify whether or not a shape is a polygon. A polygon is closed figure made up of at least three sides and angles. Triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, etc. are all polygons. Any shape with curves or open ends is NOT a polygon. Polygons can be weird shapes, have convex and concave sides, and can have any number of sides.
Have students move shapes from a template into the appropriate columns on their own storyboard. Interactive whiteboards or projected computer screens make this an engaging class activity, but students can just as easily work individually or in pairs on a computer.
[Math/Content/1/G/A/1] Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
[Math/Content/4/G/A/2] Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
Both triangles and quadrilaterals are big groups. One of the standards for elementary grades is to be able to recognize shapes and categorize them. There are many things to remember about each polygon, and it can be tricky to keep them all straight.
can be named by both sides and angles, making seven different types of triangles. (see TRIANGLE CHART above)
have equal side lengths and equal angle measurements.
have different lengths for each side.
have at least two sides with equal length. (An equilateral triangle is ALSO an isosceles triangle)
have three acute angles.
have one right angle and two acute angles.
have one obtuse angle and two acute angles
quadrilateral with four equal sides and four right angles
quadrilateral with four right angles
quadrilateral with four equal sides
quadrilateral with two sets of parallel sides
quadrilateral with one pair of parallel sides
quadrilateral with two pairs of adjacent congruent sides
Lists like the ones above contain helpful information, but can be too wordy and unclear. Charts with images and labels are sometimes more kid-friendly (or just more friendly in general). Sometimes making chart after chart can become tiresome and muddle the brain, so a little extra ingenuity can go a long way.
Here are some example flyers to help find and identify some common or regular polygons that have gone "missing". Students may also enjoy making Wanted Posters for any law-breaking polygons, or "fashion" reviews of celebrity polygons. To add faces to shapes, type "face" into the search field.