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Q&A #727


Teaching fractions and perimeter

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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 03, 1998 at 18:27:18
Subject: Re: Teaching fractions and perimeter

I really like using pattern blocks for this activity, rather than tangrams.
The pattern blocks are the set with yellow hexagons, green equilateral
triangles, red trapezoids, orange squares, blue parallelograms, white
parallelograms, (and even brown trapezoids, and tiny purple right triangles,
if you add the fraction set that ETA has).

These blocks are made proportionally, so if you give the hexagon a value of
1, the green triangle is 1/6, the red trapezoid is 1/2, the blue
parallelogram is 1/3, the brown trapezoid is 1/4, the purple triangle is 1/
12.  In addition, the white and orange pieces do not fit the area of the
others, but they do have sides that are the same length as the sides of some
of the others. To teach fractions or area, you can have the students build
hexagons out of other colors (all the same color, to start out so that it is
easier to decide what to call each piece). You can also decide to name
another piece "one whole", for example maybe the red trapezoid will be worth
one. Then what does that make the yellow hexagon?

As for perimeter, if you name the side of the square "one", you can use it to
measure other sides, and count up the total to determine the perimeter, or
you can ask students to use the pieces to construct a shape of a specific
perimeter, using the unit side of the square as "one".

Those are just a few activities using the pattern blocks. Hope they are
helpful.

 -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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