Friday, 24 May 2013

Geometry – what’s that shape?


Want to do something different in your classroom? I am sure I pinched this idea from a board game, but can’t remember what the game is called. I first tried this idea out with a class of 13 year olds. I thought if it went wrong it didn’t matter, who would know. As the class came in so did a young lady, she was a teaching student following the class. Before I could start another student appeared and asked if she could watch my Maths lesson, she was an English student teacher but needed to observe other subjects in action. No problem I said but was beginning to feel a little uneasy. Then to add to the rather crowded classroom in walked the Maths inspector for the local authority. Fortunately we got on well, ‘Hi Steve just passing, thought I might pop in is it OK to see a lesson, I know you always do something different?’ “Of course’ I said with that sinking feeling that everything would go wrong in front of my audience.


Draw some shapes on set of cards. One shape per card with the name of the shape on the card. For example, an equilateral triangle with name EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE on the card.  Have them laminated so the can be used by other classes and  year after year.


The pupils have to work in pairs, writing descriptions They then have to compete against another pair.

The game

Each pair is given a card. They have to describe the shape but not use the words written on the card. So they must not use the word EQUILATERAL or TRIANGLE. They then have to write five or more sentences describing the shape. Remind then they can use negative sentences saying what it is not.  Once competed they have to read one sentence at a time to another pair, the object for them to identify the other shape in as few sentences as possible, You can devise a scoring system if you wish to suit your class. Once the first round is done you can then ask the pupils to hand the cards on to another pair.


The pupils thought it was fun, different but harder than they expected. Which I interpreted as being stretching them. One student hurried off saying thanks, another said what a great idea, the inspector ‘I am going to use that idea at the next in service training, always knew I could pinch an idea or two from you see you Steve.’ 

For more on shape have a look at my post circles forever going round in loop