Have your child look up the definition for each term in a math book or dictionary and write them on flash cards. On one side, write the name, i.e. “Vertical Angle,” and on the other side, write the definition and draw a correct sample angle – the visual will help him remember.
Tackle the terms one at a time. For example, start with adjacent angles.
First review the flash card.
Next have your child draw an example on a separate sheet of paper.
Check to make sure it’s correct. Then have him explain to you why it’s a set of adjacent angles. Repeat with two or three different examples.
At the bottom of the page, have him write the explanation in his own words, the way he’s been explaining it to you.
Do this for each term. It’s important to have him create his own angles first; children learn best by doing!
Either find in the book or create yourself a set of examples of just one type of angle. Have your child look at the set and tell you which type of angle it is. Then have him explain to you how he knew. Have him identify similarities between the angles. This solidifies a set of rules or generalities in his head, which will help him retain the information. Repeat for all types of angles.
Again, find or create a set, but this time of different types of angles. Take them one at a time and have your child tell you which type each one is, and explain how he knows. By this point, it should be sounding pretty rote – and that’s good. Don’t underestimate the power of memorization!
Turn the tables and have him quiz you. Pick any one of the steps above, or use an activity in the math book, but this time, you be the student, and he gets to tell you whether you’re right or wrong. Hope you’ve been paying attention!
Extension: Take it outside! Go outside or around the house and find examples of angles. Many children will be surprised to find that these angles do actually exist outside of a worksheet or text book. Also, doing this will make learning angles relevant to a child’s life. You will be amazed when they are out and they begin to notice angles all around them!
Kate Smith has been a teacher since 1997. She has taught in New York and California, with experience in all subjects and grades from 1 to 12, but the heart of her expertise lies in middle school, primarily English and Journalism. She has a B.A. in English and a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University.