Miss. Cowley’s first grade class is “shaping” up to know their geometry. Using smart boards, cut outs and hand motions students learn all about vertices and number of sides in different shapes.

The lesson starts out like many lessons do, with Miss Cowley teaching the whole class as a group. On the smart board there were pictures of different shapes and questions such as “circle a shape with 6 vertices.” Miss Cowley called on various students to come up to the board and with the class’s help, circle the correct shape for the question.

In order to ensure the whole class understood, Miss Cowley had her students jump up and down when she mentioned a shape that fit certain rules. For example, she could say “Jump when I say a shape with no sides.” She then listed off shapes like triangle and square, but when she got to circle the whole class jumped in the air. This activity not only checked for learning, but also appealed to more visual and kinesthetic learners.

After the group activity, the students were given a bag of shapes and asked to trace them on a pice of paper. The paper was split up into two sections: shapes with rounded lines and shapes with straight lines. The class sat on the carpet and traced the correct shapes into each category. The class then grouped up again and did the same activity on the board, only without the pre cut shapes to be able to trace.

As they transitioned into the desks to work on a packet that Miss Cowley had prepared, the whole class, including the teacher, pointed to different objects in the room with rounded shapes. The packets contained various activities similar to the ones they had been working on already and these packets will be worked on throughout the rest of the week. 

The lesson for the day went hand-in-hand with the first grade core standard that states, “Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.”

Miss Cowley prepared an interactive and engaging lesson. Although they did many activities in a short period of time, the learning never felt rushed and made sure all types of learners were able to understand the material. Through the participation in Miss Cowley’s interactive teaching strategies, her students were able to develop the skills needed to comprehend their current math concepts and have the ability to understand future math concepts.

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