TEACHING IDEAS

The Shape House

First draw a large square and triangle on some art paper, so you have the basis for a house shape. The children then, after looking at an example, use shape sponges to sponge a house picture, filling in the square section with smaller squares, the triangle roof with triangles (facing upwards and downwards in order that the roof is filled) rectangle for the door, hexagons/pentagons/circles/squares etc for the windows, a nice big circle for a sunshine and most importantly a rectangle chimney.
I then gave the children a worksheet in the shape of a cloud of smoke with the heading 'the shapes i have used in my picture are....'
The smoke can then be cut out and glued to the picture. It's a great display piece and the children loved the painting and the smoke worksheet encouraged them to recognise the names and spellings of the shapes they had used!


Teaching about Shapes

Here are 5 ideas for games when teaching the younger classes about shape:
1. Game: Give each child a different shape. and call out directions such as, "everyone who has a square jump 3 times."
2. Making shapes out of mala/clay is a great way for children to really appreciate the shape they are making, its corners sides etc. Plus it's active and fun!
3. Shape bingo - its easy to make simple bingo cards and it's easy to play.
4. Treasure hunt - in the classroom, or weather permitting the playground, hide shapes and ask the children to search for them.
5. Pictures - give the children different shapes cut out of paper or card. They then stick them onto a larger sheet creating a person, house or abrtract art.

Hands on Shapes

While doing the concept of shapes, it would be better to provide children with some hands on activities so that the properties of shapes are clear to them.
For this children may be given some moulding clay and a few sticks. The teacher should then mould the clay into small balls and join them with sticks to form a triangle or any other shape.
As the chidren recognise the names of he shapes, they will now be told to make the different shapes themselves. By doing this the children will see that a rectangle has 4 sides and 4 corners, and so on.

Lollipop Shapes

Provide children with lollipop sticks and encourage them to make shapes with them - square, circle, octogan, pentagon etc. They can then talk about the properties of the shapes that they have created.
Next, glue them and make a display!

Feely Bag Shapes

Prior to the start of the session the reception teacher placed a cube, cuboid, cone, and a sphere into a bag called her feely bag. In the lesson the children had to describe a solid by feeling it and saying "this has a point, there's a circle at the bottom" etc. The other children had to guess the solid from these descriptions.
A feely bag is naturally a really useful resource which can be used in other subjects too such as science.

Building Shapes

I use this exercise when teaching solids to my kids and it makes a great activity for groups of 4-6 students. You need plasticine or modelling clay, matchsticks or toothpicks ....and big tables or a working area.
I introduce the basic concept of cubes and pyramids, and show how to make balls of clay about 1cm in diameter, and how to connect them together using the sticks. Then I assign 4 tasks:
  • make a cube
  • make a pyramid
  • make a house (combine cube and pyramid.)
  • make a tower using multiple cubes and one pyramid to crown the top.
The first group to make a tower from at least 4 cubes wins a prize. The real challenge here is for the students to work together and to become junior engineers by creating a stronger structure than their classmates. Everyone has a great time and the session can be very amusing!

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