I try not to use this blog as a soapbox, but I am on a mission to try to STOP teachers insisting on showing young children regular shapes first. In my opinion, this is the reason that my YEAR 5 children think that something is a pentagon because it 'looks like a house' or that something must be a triangle because it is 'pointy'. These are children who can tell you beyond all doubt how many sides a pentagon or triangle has, yet when you show them a pointy shape, their first, instinctive response is that it is a triangle. ARGH!!!!! So, I am all about irregular polygons at the moment. Anyway, rant over. ish.
So, we played a game. I gave each team of 4 a loop of string. I then challenged them to make different polygons in different ways. For example, in the picture above, I asked them to make a hexagon using all 4 children. I then asked them to make a different one or to just use 3 of the children.
The challenge really came when I asked then to use 3 children to make a decagon. Whoooooo! What a lot of debate and reasoning this took! I had to stop them in the end when I realised that the reason they were struggling was because not a single team had considered making a concave shape, which is far easier to hold. Concave shapes just don't come naturally into their heads as they are not shown these when they learn about shape.
I will definitely play this game again. It made a fun, hands-on warm-up and the kids loved it!
Hi! I'm Mrs P: passionate primary school teacher!