Age: 3 to 5 years old
Purpose: Visual and tactile knowledge of geometric forms. Awareness and observation of geometric forms in the environment. Smooth and coordinated movement. Knobs enhance pencil grip.
Promotes a foundation for later study of geometry. Helps prepare for writing as child feels the different curves and straight lines of the figures. The shapes are similar to the letters of the alphabet and number symbols. Helps smooth hand movement and coordination. Helps transition from 2 dimensional shapes to one dimensional shapes.
Material: The Presentation Tray: A wooden tray consisting of three plain squares of wood and three wooden frames with 3 insets, a circle (10 centimeters in diameter), a square (10 centimeters by 10 centimeters) and an equilateral triangle (equal angles and equal sides)-(each of the 3 angles is 60 degrees each) covered with a frame.
Cabinet with 6 drawers: Each drawer holds geometrical figures (dark blue) that fit into a plain varnished wooden frame. The geometric figures have wooden knobs. The bottom of the drawer is painted dark blue.
Drawer one: Six circles arranged from smallest to largest with diameters of 5 cm, 6 cm, 7 cm, 8 cm, 9 cm, and 10 cm.
Drawer two: Six rectangles arranged from smallest to largest with side's 5 cm x 10 cm, 6 cm x 10 cm, 7 cm x 10 cm, 8 cm x 10 cm, 9 cm x 10 cm, and 10 cm x 10 cm.
Drawer three: Six triangles in the following order; right angled scalene triangle, an acute angled scalene triangle, an obtuse angled scalene triangle, a right angled isosceles triangle, an acute angled triangle, and an obtuse angled isosceles triangle.
[The right angled isosceles triangles has 2 sides of 10 cm.]
Drawer four: Six polygons, which would inscribe (every corner of the polygons will touch the 10 cm circle) in the circle of 10 cm diameter of drawer one. It includes a pentagon, a hexagon, a heptagon, an octagon, a nonagon and a decagon.
Drawer five: Four curved shapes; a curved triangle, a quatrefoil, an ellipse and an ovoid.
Drawer six: Four quadrilaterals; a rhombus, a parallelogram, a trapezium and a trapezoid.
Presentation: Take the presentation tray to the child's table. Remove each figure and put it on the blank wood above it. You will have 2 identical shapes of each figure. The bottom of the drawers and tray are dark blue so that when a figure is removed the bottom of the tray is a silhouette of the removed figure. Slowly do the exercise and pause long enough each time so the child will have time to grasp what is being demonstrated. Show the child how to feel around the edge of each inset and its silhouette socket with the first two fingers of your right hand (if you favor your right hand), and replace. This feeling must be done smoothly and exactly with good coordination of movement. Hold each figure very still while feeling it. Encourage the child to do this exactly as you have demonstrated.
Exercise: Part 1
When the child is familiar with the figures in the presentation tray take out new ones from a contrasting drawer from the cabinet. Replace the circle, triangle and square with the new figures to be introduced. Make sure the figures are very different looking. When the child has mastered these three shapes as done in the original presentation. Present six contrasting new figures. Again take them out, mix them on the table, and let the child do the presentation. Continue to vary the shapes in the presentation tray until he or she is familiar with all the geometric insets.
Take out one of the drawers containing similar figures that can be graded according to size. Circles are the easiest. Remove the shapes, mix them on the table, feel round each inset, socket in turn, and replace each figure. The child can now do the exercise and choose any drawer. The exercise is lengthy and the child will work on it over time.
Advanced lesson: Teach the names of the shapes using the 3 period lesson. Use only 3 to begin with.
The geometric figures can be compared and geometrical deductions made. For example, You can fit (inscribe) the polygon into the largest circle. Try to inscribe other shapes, such as triangles into the largest square.
Control of Error: Most of the figures will not fit into the wrong sockets. If the child does fit one figure into the wrong socket he will have one left at the end that will not fit.
Age: 4 and up
Material: 3 sets of cards
Set One: White cards with solid replicas of the geometric shapes in a dark blue. One card for each geometric cabinet figure.
Set Two: White cards with thick dark blue outline (1-centimeter thick line) of geometric shape. One card for each figure in the cabinet.
Set Three: White cards with thin dark blue outline of the geometric shapes. One card for each figure.
Presentation: Spread out a rug on the floor. Take the cards of the six circles from set 1 (solid print of circles). Take out the drawer with six circles from the geometric cabinet. Lay out the card on the rug and ask the child to choose a circle from the drawer to fit exactly over the picture of a circle on one of the cards. Get him to find a circle to fit exactly over each of the circle cards.
The child takes any of the cards from set one (solid print) that corresponds to the one of the drawers in the cabinet and uses them ad shown. When he can do this well he can lay out all the cards (solid print from set one) and place the correct inset on each card.
Set two: Use in the same manner after the child has mastered set one. It is more difficult to recognize the differences in size in these shapes with the thick line. Some are like a optical illusions! Set Three: Use after set two has been mastered. This can be even more difficult as the child must differentiate the difference between the solid shape and the shape formed with a thin outline.
Control of Error:
If the child makes a mistake the last inset will not fit exactly over the last card. There will be at least one card that will not fit properly.
To recognize representations of shapes leading to an abstract conception of form. Also, it helps fine tune visual differences in the cards which will help later for reading.
These are some games to do after the children have finished all the activities with the cabinet and cards.
Game one: Place all the drawers from the cabinet on a table at the end of the room. Make sure that the shapes can be seen. Take one set of the cards. Show a child a card and ask him to find the corresponding wooden inset. When he brings it back let him fit it over the card to see if it fits. If it is correct leave the card with the inset over it on the table and show another card to another child. Continue until all the cards are covered by an inset.
Game two: Spread all the cards from one set on a table so that all can be seen. Spread out another set of cards on another table in the same manner. Place the drawers from the cabinet on a third table.
Have the three tables as far apart as possible. Take the last set of cards, mix the cards and give several to each group of children. Ask the children to find the cards and insets which match the ones they have in their hands. Check the ones they bring back.