This practical guide will focus on geometry and outline resources that educators can use when implementing this math concept in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. This guide can be used for primary school children as well.
- Building Blocks is a math curriculum for early childhood created by Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama (2011), along with a group of preschool teachers. This is an excellent resource as it outlines learning trajectories, which serve as a guide on how to teach various math concepts. Learning trajectories create a goal for children in their learning of a math concept, lay out steps for how children will strive towards the goal, and provide instructions on how children will progress through these steps (Clements & Sarama, 2011).
- Teachers can use graphics in the classroom as a resource to help students understand the concept. Displaying shapes on the walls and labeling them in the various languages spoken by students or student’s families would be an effective way to include children who are bilingual.
- Provide children with a number of examples of each shape. For example, if children are playing with triangles, they should be provided with triangles whose sides are of varying lengths and angles of varying degrees. This way, children will not have a limited idea of what shapes can look like.
- Provide a variety of materials in the classroom with which children can explore geometric concepts through play. Examples of materials are play-doh, as children can mould it into various shapes, marshmallows and straws, as students can created shapes with straws and use the marshmallows as glue, paintbrushes, canvases, markers, crayons, and paper, with which children can practice drawing lines and shapes. These types of materials are also beneficial for students with special needs or those who require accommodation as they are very manipulable and can be used in various ways.
- Books are very beneficial in teaching children about geometry. Age-appropriate stories that have engaging narratives and images can help children retain information. When books involving shapes, objects, and figures are incorporated into the story, children are learning about geometry. Inviting students’ family members to read stories to the class is a nice way of including them in their children’s learning.
- Tangrams, which are seven piece puzzles made of various shapes, are another great resource. They allow students to create their own images with limited restriction and children can then see the various shapes that make up their image. 3D tangrams can also be used.
- Children develop spatial sense by exploring the physical space around them. Teachers can help students create maps of places that are familiar to them, such as their home, school, or city in which they live. Teachers can also create scavenger hunts that encourage children to become more aware of their environment.
- Another important aspect of geometry is perspective taking. Provide children with images that are seen from various perspectives and have discussions on what can be seen from each perspective.
- Various types of blocks are good resources for classrooms to have as children can build various structures such as homes and cities. Through block play children can develop spatial awareness and learn about the various attributes of shapes such as sides, corners, and edges.
- Have children bring objects from home and discuss which shape(s) the object looks like. This builds upon the home-school connection and allows children to think about everyday objects through the lens of geometry.
Clements, D. & Sarama, J. (2011). Early childhood teacher education: The case of geometry. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 14(2), 133-148. doi:10.1007/s10857-011-9173-0