Geometric shapes can often be tough to remember, and your child will be expected to identify more complex shapes in fourth grade. But, with a little bit of art, imagination, and writing, practicing geometry can be silly fun!
One set of geometry shapes-- either store-bought or drawn and cut out of paper. Common shapes in the fourth grade curriculum are: circles, squares, rectangles, cones, cylinders, cubes, pyramids, spheres, octagons, hexagons, and triangles.
What You Do:
Start out by giving your child ample time to play with the geometric shapes. Review any shapes he doesn't recognize.
Now, bring some art into the mix. It's time for your child to create a geometric creature using as many different shapes as he can find. He can make a funny shaped monster face, make a nonsense shape, or put two shapes together to create one big shape (like three equilateral triangles to create a trapezoid). When your child has finished his monster, ask him to trace it onto a piece of drawing paper. Parents: don't peek!
Ask your child to write down the steps required to make his creature, including the specific geometric shapes he used (this will help them become a natural part of his vocabulary.) Explain that the object of this activity is to write clear, detailed directions so the other player (you!) can recreate the creature on another piece of paper.
Using your child’s written directions and nothing else, try to draw his geometric creature.
Now switch roles and give him a whirl. This time, you do the inventing, and let him use the directions you write to try to create your creature. Not only will this game solidify his recollection of the geometric shapes, it will also hone his writing skills and his ability to sequence directions. In other words, it all adds up to great math practice, plus a little extra!
Vanessa Genova DeSantis has been teaching for fourteen years in public and private school settings in grades 4-8. She's also an educational freelance writer as well as a private tutor for elementary, middle and high school students.