TOPIC AND LEVEL: Geometry: Basic
PLAY WITH: All games
EQUIPMENT: 3 small folders, 3 of a collection of figures made from
      paper and magic markers and scotch tape or just pictures of figures.
TO WIN: Hide or find the designated figure.
  • First player wins by hiding THE CIRCLE or other special figure by moving the closed folders.
  • Second player wins by FINDing THE CIRCLE or other special figure after 1st player has moved the closed folders.
  • First player shows and names the figure in each of the folders to the 2nd player. This showing and naming may be done more than once.
  • First player identifies a figure in one of the folders as the CIRCLE or other special figure.
  • First player places the folders in a line in front of the 2nd player then closes each folder.
  • First player moves the folders around changing their positions in line.
  • Second player watches then tries to identify the folder containing the CIRCLE or other special figure.
  • Change the figures used.
  • Move the folders around more quickly.

      This is the most basic geometry game. It builds leadership or perhaps showmanship skills as well as vocabulary skills. This is another game which evolved once Michael was past early childhood. I was "The Math Lady" at Dorothy Cerlin's and Pat Chomicki's 3-year-old day care center class and we needed a geometry game. The real goal of the game is to have the child become a leader who speaks mathematical vocabulary to other children.

      You'll need two manilla folders. Cut them in half so instead of having one folder which holds 8 " x 11" sheets you have two folders which hold 8 " by 5 " sheets. Use three of the folders to play the game and one to hold extra shapes. On the pages which follow you'll find a sheet with nine figures. The quick and easy way to use the materials is to simply cut out the sheets and use as is. THE BETTER WAY TO USE THE MATERIALS is to tape any line or curve on the paper which is solid and black. This gives the curve rigidity. Next, cut the figures out COMPLETELY! Remove all white paper as waste. Remove the dashed lines as wasted. Leave only 9 taped, black, figures, which are flat but tend to curl and which could encircle a finger, as shown.

      To a mathematician, circles, lines, triangles, squares, and rectangles are really strings one point thick. You couldn't see it. You can't really draw a circle. The shape we call a circle is a representation of the circle. The mathematician uses the picture to think about the idea. It's good enough!

      Throughout this book, abstract ideas have been approached as concretely as possible. This taping and cutting of pictures is an attempt to make the best possible model of an abstract thing. The feature of being able to hold the model as a ring on your finger attempts to model the fact that the line is what makes the circle, triangle, or square, not the area within the circle, triangle, or square.

      Place three of your models in three folders and store the rest in the fourth folder. Place the three folders open with model visible in front of the Child. You are now ready to play the game. Here's a possible dialogue.

      The Adult: "Which would you like to find, the square," pointing to the large square in the first folder, "the circle," pointing to the large circle in the second folder, and again pointing this time to the third folder, "or the triangle?"

      The Child: "The circle."

      The Adult: "The circle is my favorite shape also."

      The Adult: "I'm closing the folder on the square. I'm closing the folder on the circle. But, you have to remember where that circle is. I'll open the folder one more time so you can see the circle. Ok?"

      The Child nods in consent.

      The Adult: "I'm closing the folder on the triangle. Now, I'll move the folders around so you can try to find that circle.

      "I'll show you where that circle is one more time," opening then closing the circle folder.

      When playing with a group of three-year-olds, the game was made sufficiently challenging by simply exchanging the place of two of the folders. With somewhat older children, more movement of folders is advised. But, the goal is really to review and repeat the words and show the shapes, not really to hide the figure. The leader, or teacher, or adult, wants the figure to be found so the child can lead the game.

      The folders have been moved.

      The Adult: "Do you know where the circle is?"

      The Child nods, "Yes," and points to the correct folder.

      The Adult: "You may open it."

      The Child opens the folder and smiles in victory. The Adult and Child applaud lightly.

      The Adult: "Now it's your turn to be the Leader."

      With young children, the Adult must coach through questions and open and close the folders. With more experience the Child assumes more of the leadership role.

      The Child: "I'm hiding the square. I'm hiding the triangle. I'm hiding the circle. Now, remember where the circle is."

      The Child moves the folders around.

      The Child: "Ok. Now you find the circle."

      The nine figures used for the game deliberately include large and small circles and squares, triangles and more than one other rectangle. Large and small are concepts a child should learn so models of large and small were included.

      The other figures provides the Adult with a working vocabulary for reference. Please note that a square is a rectangle. A puppy is a kind of dog. A square is a kind of rectangle. A square is a rectangle with four congruent or equal sides. My son knew and used the words square and rectangle properly as a young child. Other children could use the words properly also.

      Click on the image to enlarge it for printing.

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