Instructional Resource Set: Geometry

This blog focuses on the Virginia Math SOL 3.14 that covers a portion of the geometry unit taught in the third grade.  Students will become familiar with plane and solid geometric figures and their specific characteristics.  You find included below several books that would be a good addition to this unit, some good websites that students can access to deepen their understanding of geometric shapes, and some resources that will be helpful to the classroom teacher.The following are excellent books to incorporate into the lessons on geometry:

  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and illustrated by Gordon Silveria.  Burns creates a main character that is a friendly triangle that decides life would be better if he had more sides and angles.  He continually changes into new shapes, until he becomes very big and almost round.  He finally decides what will make him happy is to go back to being a triangle.
  • Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Remy Simard.  Murphy takes readers through the adventures of Captain Invincible and his space dog, Comet.  As they make their way back to earth, they ward off a meteor shower, poisonous gas cloud, a flying saucer, and a galactic beast with their multitude of space gadgets that are made out of solid geometric shapes.
  • Finding Shapes with Sebastian Pig and Friends at the Museum by Jill Anderson and illustrated by Amy Huntington. Sebastian and his friends are on a search in the museum to find art ideas that will help them decorate his new bedroom.  They find all kinds of artwork that includes plane and solid shapes. Anderson includes a nice graph of the shapes which includes a drawing, description, number of sides, and number of corners of each specific shape. Although this book is a bit on the juvenile side, it is still engaging and may be a good resource for the weaker readers in the class.
  • Sir Cumference and the First Round Table and Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehan.  These are two books in the series by Neuschwander that is set in the era of Camelot.  Sir Cumference is continually challenged with situations that require him and Lady Di of Ameter to use various skills.  During their adventures various geometric shapes are discovered in ordinary items around them, giving readers a good review of the characteristics of these shapes.
  • Geometry by Lucille Caron and Philip M. St. Jacques. Caron and St. Jacques walk the reader through a great deal of information about geometric shapes and vocabulary.  The information is clear and succinct, yet very informative.   Although this is not a literature book, I recommend it be included in the resource set because it is a good differentiation tool.  More advanced students who desire to dig deeper into the study of geometry may enjoy the challenge of this book, and students will find it to be an easy accessible resource book for any type of research on geometry in grades 3-5.

Students may enjoy utilizing the following sites throughout this study:

  • PBS Cyberchase On-line Tangram Games are quite user friendly. Students are on a page that displays a shape (i.e. a rabbit) which they are to create using the tangram pieces provided.  The game includes tools to rotate the pieces and move them into place.  This will be most helpful once the students have had exposure and experience working with actual tangram pieces.
  • Investigating the Concept of Triangle and the Properties of Polygons: Making Triangles is a site with interactive geoboards to help students identify simple geometric shapes, describe their properties, and develop spatial sense.
  • Polygons Around a Point is an on-line game that allows the student to use regular polygons to surround a point in a plane.  He/she will be able to make designs and decide how to best cover a surface by using regular polygons.
  • Tangrams on-line is another fun tangram puzzle site that allows students to choose various puzzles to solve with tangrams.
  • This on-line shapes matching memory game is a good level for students who are in the beginning stage of geometry and learning their plane shapes.

Teacher Resources:

  • MathSteps “Identifying and Classifying Polygons” is a good lesson plan with several pages of work that walks you through introducing and developing the concepts.
  • The Educator’s Reference Desk website offers a lesson on the beloved book by Marilyn Burns, The Greedy Triangle.  The lesson also incorporates the use of geoboards with the students, which is always a fun activity.
  • This lesson plan will have students act and think like architects as they team up to build their dream home with plane and solid shapes that they create.
  • Nancy Powell’s Web Pages have many good ideas for SmartBoards. This link is specifically to her geometry page, but you may want to look through the rest of her site for good ideas in other areas too!