Math Background

Properties of Polygons: Tips and Tricks

  • As much as possible, make geometry a hands-on and “minds-on” learning experience. Give students opportunities to draw various angles, triangles, and quadrilaterals and to use protractors and rulers to measure angles and lengths. Also, provide opportunities for students to discuss what they discovered from their work. This will allow you to clarify misconceptions and explain concepts they do not understand.
  • Connect the vocabulary terms in this chapter with terms students are already familiar with. For example, relate triangles to tricycles and connect parallelograms to the idea of parallel lines. Reminding students that, in everyday language, adjacent means “next to” and similar means “like” or “resembling” can help them remember the definitions of adjacent angles and similar figures.
  • Point out applications of the ideas whenever possible. For example, when using the overhead projector, explain that the image placed on the glass is similar to the one seen on the screen. Discuss tile or fabric patterns that show examples of translations or reflections. Point out examples of windows, doors, and fixtures that are congruent to one another. Discuss how the angles in a room are often right angles. Have students find examples of the various figures they are studying in their homes or in school.
  • Be sure to emphasize the relationships among various figures, such as types of triangles. For example, all equilateral triangles are isosceles triangles. You can offer students some visual ways to think about this, such as the diagram below.
  • Similar relationships exist among types of quadrilaterals. In particular, rectangles and rhombuses are parallelograms, and a square is both a rectangle and a rhombus.
  • Connect geometry to art by having your students create tessellations. To create a simple tessellation, start with a rectangle. Cut a shape from the top or bottom side of the rectangle, slide it straight up or down to the opposite side, and tape it in place. Then cut a shape from the left or right side, slide it straight across to the opposite side, and tape it in place. Trace the finished shape over and over to form a tiling.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 6