Teacher2Teacher Q&A #1500

Pattern blocks for middle school

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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Apr 28, 1999 at 21:56:51
Subject: Re: Pattern Blocks for Middle School

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 tessalate... ) 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 Teacher2Teacher service

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