Warm Up Activity

Using Activity Pattern Blocks


Back to Using Activity Pattern Blocks
* * *
Go to Pattern Blocks applet
by National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM)
Experiment online with the shapes.



1. To manipulate triangles, squares, hexagons, trapezoids, and rhombuses to learn the names of the polygons and associate the names with the correct polygons.

2. To listen and respond to directions using the names of the polygons.


1. Cardboard or manila folder dividers

2. Activity pattern blocks


Students may work in pairs or groups of 3 or 4. This activity could also be introduced to the class with one person giving directions and individuals or groups of students responding.
1. Determine which blocks will be used for Game 1.

Suggestion: Start with 2 each of 2 different polygons.

2. Using the cardboard or manila folder to block others' views, one student in the group (or pair or class) constructs a pattern using the specified number of blocks.

3. Set the scenario explaining that the person making the pattern using the specified number of blocks is Mission Control and all others participating are Space Ship Crew Members. The Space Ship Crew Members are on a mission and have encountered problems - they have only one-way communication with Mission Control! In order to find their way home they must follow Mission Control's orders exactly to rebuild their panel of controls.

4. Remind all students that there is only one-way communication, which means ONLY Mission Control may speak!

5. Looking at the "panel" of shapes, Mission Control carefully describes the position of the shapes using as much vocabulary as possible to assist the Crew in constructing the panel, which will enable them to return to Earth.

6. As Mission Control speaks, the Crew Members listen and construct the panel using Mission Control's description.


1. All students compare their control panel to that of Mission Control. If it is exactly the same, they return to Earth. If it is not exactly the same, they are lost in Space!

2. Discuss how precise vocabulary can be very helpful. Make a list (available for everyone to see) to assist in subsequent games.

3. As skill in describing the configurations improves, add more blocks to the panel until all six different polygons have been used.

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