Monday, March 5, 2012

Geometry Fun

February was geometry month in the Lagniappe house.  Confession: I have never been a fan of geometry.  I know, shock, right?  I never had any real world practice with it, and I had a pain in the butt high school class, so I just never made friends with it; however, I was determined to give my daughters a different experience with.  

In addition to our standard Math Mammoth geometry chapter, we played with tangrams and pattern blocks and had lots of fun with a game we like to call Area Bataille*.  It's simple.  You need a pair of dice, graph paper, and two different colored markers (more if you have more than two players).

Roll two dice (we used 6-sided, but you could use larger dice with older children more familiar with their multiplication tables to get larger combinations) and draw a rectangle with those dimensions.  For example, if you roll a two and a four, you draw a rectangle two grid squares wide and four grid squares tall (OR four grid squares wide and two grid squares tall) anywhere on the graph paper.  You then have to multiply to figure out the area and write that number in your rectangle.  (Later, I made her also tell me the perimeter of each rectangle.) Take turns rolling and drawing rectangles until someone is stuck and can't place their rectangle.  I started with about 1/4 of a sheet of graph paper, because we don't have a whole lot of patience in this house (mama included) and get tired of these kind of back and forth games quite quickly, but you can use a whole sheet or a half sheet or tape multiple sheets together if you have a lot of players (and a lot of patience) or  if you choose to use larger dice.  We really enjoyed this.

While Ella and I played, Harper entertained herself by sorting all of our dice.

It helps to have a gamer daddy with lots of cool dice to play with.

We also modified this game so Harper could play by rolling just one die and drawing a shape with an area of that many squares.  Counting fun!

Since we're also practicing multiplication facts, we made this super cool multiplication clock.  (It looks like the site is undergoing maintenance, so if the link isn't working, check back later.  The instructions are free.)  

We learned how to make a homemade compass and draw circles increasing by one centimeter each for each of the multiplication tables.  I helped figure the center of the paper for her, and she did the rest.
Beautiful, right?

I think this was our first home run for math.  Having a month of fun projects and games really helped me feel like I can do so much better and also relax a bit with math, so I'm rethinking our plans for next year.  I'm looking forward to more math fun and less math stress in our future!

* Originally, Bataille is the French name (pronounced 'baa', like a sheep, and 'tie' like you tie a knot, with the emphasis on the second syllable) for the card game War.  I like screaming "Bataille!" so much that I decided to name this game Area Bataille.  Yes, you MUST scream "Bataille!" like a crazy person when you play this game.  It's the rule.  

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