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Pattern Blocks for Middle School
by Gail Englert

A response to the question:

How can I use pattern blocks with my 7th and 8th grade students?

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A previous teacher left a ton of pattern blocks in my middle school classroom. How can I use them with my 7th and 8th grade students?

Gina

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Dear Gina,

Pattern blocks are wonderful! I teach fifth grade, and I used them for all sorts of things. You can introduce (or extend) tessalations with pattern blocks (which shapes, will, and which will not... which need a "helper" shape in order to tessellate...)

I use them quite a bit for fractions. If you chose one block to be the unit, the other blocks (most of them) can be refered to as fractional parts of that block, or multiples of that block. For example, if the red trapeziod is worth "one", then the yellow hexagon is worth two, and the green triangle is worth a third and so on.

You can explore geometry concepts like obtuse, right and acute angles. You can put two blocks together at one side and see if they form a right, or a straight angle.

You can see how many green triangles it takes to make an equilateral triangle that is twice as long on each side or three times as long, or four times as long.

You can assign values to the shapes, and have students create "art" that is worth a certain amount. I have run out of time, but these are a start. I hope they trigger more ideas for you.

-Gail, for the T2T service

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