Education Technology

Making Sense of Shapes and Sizes

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students develop algorithms for generating and generalizing patterns related to triangle and square geometric models.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 119 - 122 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the activity procedures:

  • Use square tiles or centimeter cubes to build geometric shapes found on the Student Activity pages
  • Record the area and perimeter for each shape
  • Notice that the cubes take on a triangular staircase shape, and that the values in the Area column represent the triangular sums of that pattern
  • Use these results to write an algorithm to generate the number patterns in the Area column and the Perimeter column
  • Alternatively, use an algebraic model to generalize the pattern in these tables
  • After the Activity

    Students complete the Student Activity pages and answer questions.

  • Review student results
  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary