Math Background

Geometry and Fractions: Tips and Tricks

  • Spend a little time each day playing a shape-matching game. Using a timer, give students 3 minutes to write down as many classroom objects they can see that match a particular shape. Change the given shape each day, naming a plane shape on some days and a solid shape on others. Allow children to share with the class the objects they have listed.
  • Place a number (between 8 and 12) of everyday objects or cut-out shapes into each of four shoeboxes. Divide the class into four groups and have each team sort the shapes in its box into the correct category (for example, circle, sphere, square, rectangle, cube, rectangular prism, cone, cylinder, triangle, pyramid).
  • Give each child in the class two common objects, one a plane shape (such as a sheet of notebook paper, a playing card, or a flat paper coaster) and one a solid shape (a spool of thread, a party hat, or a cassette tape). Ask the children to tell how many sides and vertices or faces and edges their shapes have.
  • Ask each child to create a set (3–5 pairs) of congruent shapes out of construction paper or cardboard. Then have them switch sets with a partner and sort each other's sets into pairs of congruent shapes.
  • Provide experiences for recognizing and identifying symmetrical objects and/or lines of symmetry. Have children tell whether the shapes or objects they use during the day have lines of symmetry and identify them.
  • Give children opportunities to engage in activities in which they use fractions. Throughout the day, have children identify fractions that come up in their work or play. Challenge them to keep track of the number of times they use fractions each day.
  • As in-classroom opportunities arise, have children tell whether one fraction is less than or greater than another. Ask them to compare two fractions and tell which is greater or less. Encourage children to justify their answers.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 2