Hands-on math projects can make the difference between a student truly comprehending various quadrilaterals or forgetting them within a week. Place your students in pairs and groups to create games, songs and drawings that will deepen their understanding of these four-sided polygons. When you present quadrilaterals in a fun and challenging way, students get enthusiastic about math and enjoy learning.
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Place students into pairs. Give each pair a large sheet of poster board, glue, markers and a small ball of string or yarn. Students experiment with single lengths of yarn, working together to create various four-sided shapes, such as a trapezoid, rectangle, parallelogram or rhombus. They then form pieces of string into five or six different quadrilaterals and glue them onto the poster board. Each figure is labelled and briefly described. Display the posters in class.
Using only four-sided figures, each student draws and paints a "quadrilateral animal." Provide large sheets of white construction paper, acrylic paints or coloured pencils and rulers. Give the students one point for each figure they use in the drawing---this helps to eliminate overly simplified animal shapes. Students write descriptions of the creatures, telling about their behaviours and habitat. They present the animals to their classmates, pointing out the quadrilaterals they have included.
Students work in pairs to create quadrilateral matching games. They use small, blank index cards and coloured pencils. Each pair devises a list of five or six four-sided polygons. They create four cards for each shape, writing the quadrilateral's name on two cards, its description on one card and a picture of the figure on the last card. When the cards are complete, students play a game by turning all cards face down in the middle. They attempt to pick up pairs of cards with a quadrilateral's name and its matching description or picture.
Students create booklets depicting various quadrilaterals. The teacher sets the shape parameters, depending upon the age group. Students design a separate page for each quadrilateral. They title the page, draw at least one picture of the shape and write a description of its properties. Using old magazines, students find and cut out pictures of the various quadrilaterals and glue them onto the correct pages of the booklets. Display the shape books in class where all students can examine them.
Students work in groups of two to four. They create songs, stories, poems or raps about four-sided figures. For younger students, assign each group a different quadrilateral. Older students can incorporate several polygons into one creation. Set the limits according to the age group. The students record their results and play them for classmates or perform them live in front of the students.
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