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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Geometry Focus: Line Study

I am always looking for ways to engage my students in math.  I truly believe that the days of solely practicing skills by worksheets are gone.  One of my favorite units to teach in geometry.  Naturally, there are so many fun, hands on ways to teach geometry.

We usually begin our geometry unit with line study.  It shows up in the Common Core Standards several times, so it's a logical starting point for me.  I have found that the most productive way for students to practice the different types of lines is through a hands on engagement.  Years ago, I was student teaching, completing this very same lesson, when the superintendent of the school district walked in (Did I mention that his focus area for the year was math?).  Imagine my surprise when the very same day, my principal pulled me in and told me how impressed the superintendent was and that I was to be put on an “all star” list of student teachers.  Needless to say, I think your students will enjoy this activity! 

Get out your acting hat for this one….

   I begin by teaching the point and arrows as stop and go, hence the red and green.  The arrows go on forever, and the red points mean STOP.  I have the students cut out their arrows and circles and give them each a small piece of string to use as the line.  We practice all of our different lines, segment, ray, horizontal, vertical. 

And then the fun begins.

 I cut out my boy figure, and I cut out my girl figure. I make parallel lines. Girl is me (Mrs. Mountain View) and Boy is Mr. Mountain View.  We start at opposite ends of the lines, and LO! We will never, ever, ever, ever meet.  Oh, the sadness.  We may walk right next to each other, but never will we meet.  Our destinies have been changed forever.  We lament and continue on our way knowing that whatever we do, as long as we are on parallel paths, we will never meet.

Then, we make perpendicular lines.  You guessed it.  WE MEET.  There is singing.  There is joy, maybe even a quick little wedding ceremony at the point of intersection.  The kids are hooked.  

Then, the kids get to make their own line study packet with index cards to practice.  They use the packet at home and at school (in math workshop centers) to practice each of the different types of lines and create them using their arrows, points, and lines (string).  They are required to tell the two stories to at least three other students as well as their parents.  

If you don't have enough time to have your students make their own study cards, you can download my Line Study Card freebie here.  Also included in the freebie are template cards that your students can write on as well.  Of course, the points, arrows, and little people are included for your convenience. (Some kids prefer to pretend like they are meeting their friends, so I include two boy and two girl figures in the packet).

 I hope you enjoy this activity, and most importantly, I hope it helps your students master the different types of lines.

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