# Probability

While this topic can be an intimidating and difficult one there is one game we have probably all played that will make this topic seem easier. It is called rock, paper, scissors. Who would have thought that time you played rock, paper, scissors with someone to decide who got to make a decision first would be related to such a complicated math topic.

In this activity students are given the following worksheet and are asked to play rock, paper, scissors twenty times with a partner. The students record their data on the worksheet and answer the questions in relation to what they have just recorded. This activity will take such a simple action into a great learning experience.

Once the students are done with their first partner I would have them partner up again with someone else and see how their data is similar or different. It would be good for the students to do this a total of at least three times with three different partners. This will give the students better data and information to study. This is a simple and inexpensive activity for the students to take part in. I think it will open their eyes to how probability has been around them without them even knowing it. They can then go home and show their family what they have learned and get them involved with their learning as well.

# Symmetry

This post incorporates multiple activities to teach and portray the idea of symmetry. This incorporates a few activities as there will be four stations set up around the classroom for students to take part in. The class will be divided up into four groups with each group starting at a different station. Every fifteen minutes the groups will move clockwise to the next station until each group has been at every station. The four activities that are explained more below are lines of symmetry, symmetry with coffee filters, geoboard symmetry, and drawing the missing part of the picture.

Station 1: Lines of Symmetry

Reference: How many lines of symmetry are there?

In this activity students discover that there are many different lines of symmetry. They can see that some shapes/objects only have one line of symmetry while others have many more than that. Instead of having one big sheet like this I would have the objects shown on here cut out and placed on the table. The students would then each take one of each of the objects and draw the lines of symmetry on them. I think this is a great way to see the different lines of symmetry because even thought the student may think there is only one line their may be multiple. By the student being able to draw on these objects I think it becomes more obvious to them how symmetry works.

Station 2: Symmetry with Coffee Filters

Reference: Coffee Filter Symmetry How To

In this activity students get to create their own design. Each student takes a coffee filter and folds it exactly in half giving them their line of symmetry. They then need to wet the coffee filter on both sides. Students then take markers and create a design on the one side of the coffee filter. Once their creation is complete they can open the filter up to see their full design come to life. This is a fun, easy, and inexpensive way for students to learn about symmetry. When they can create something on their own they take more pride in it and will understand a concept better. After all the students are done creating their design at this station I think it would make a wonderful decoration in the classroom if they all were hung on the wall.

Station 3: Geoboard Symmetry

Reference: Geoboard Snowflakes

In this activity student use Geoboards to create symmetry. The picture and the link attached to this activity show different snowflake designs being made with rubber bands on the Geoboards. I think this is a great idea to explore the world of symmetry. Other objects/pictures could also be created on the boards to show symmetry such as flowers, faces, and random designs. I think this really gets the students to think because they have to make sure they put the same design on one part of the Geoboard as on the other or else it will not be symmetric. This activity helps with hand eye coordination as well. I think this a great activity for students because they can learn from each other by seeing what each other creates.

Station 4: Drawing the missing part of the picture.

Reference: Finish the Shape

This activity has students finish the other side of the shape by drawing. The student needs to make sure that it is the same on both sides so it is symmetric. This is a great activity as students need to think and visualize what the other side would look like. This is another skill concept as now instead of the student creating symmetry with an object they have to create it by putting pencil to paper which can sometimes be a little more challenging. I think this is a great way to get the minds of the students working.

Setting up stations for students to take part in gets them up and out of their desks to experience concepts on their own. With a concept like symmetry that can be confusing at times it is good to give students the opportunity to participate hands on. I think the students will take pride in all they create at these four different stations.

# Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes are found around all of us everywhere. Whether it be in the classroom, at home, or outside students can find the shapes they are learning about in their textbooks around them in other areas of their life. I think it is important for us all to realize how much geometry surrounds us and be able to point these out to each other.

This activity starts in the classroom. The students are given the following blank worksheet:

As a class they will need to come up with the names of these shapes and write them in the box below each shape. As a teacher I would put a word bank on the board for the students to choose from. Once everyone is finished the answer sheet should be put up so all the students can check their work and make sure they have the shapes named correctly so they are ready for the next step in the activity. The answers are shown here:

After the students have correctly put the correct names of the shapes under each image they will now find objects around the classroom that match these shapes and write them in the middle of the shape. A couple examples of this could be the clock for the circle, the table for the rectangle, and the window for the square. After the students have found objects for each of the shapes the class should come together and share their findings. Each student should write down examples that other students may bring up in this discussion. The next step in this activity is for students to bring the worksheet home and look for these shapes in their house or outside. With the help of a parent the student should write these examples outside and near the shape they correspond to. A few examples they may find are a brick on a fireplace for a rectangle, a stop sign for the regular octagon, and a bathroom shower tile for the square. The next day during class the student’s findings should be shared with each other. This will complete the activity.

While this seems to be a simple activity I think it is important to give students an understanding of shapes and how they use or see them everyday. They may not have been aware of all the shapes around them until this activity. Geometry can be a scary topic to many but if it is taught in a fun way it will not be as intimidating. I really think this is a great activity because the parents get to get involved as well. All too often students go to school each day and come home and the parents have no clue what they are learning about. I think this creates a great way for students and parents to bond over what the student is learning in an easy and fun way.

Reference for worksheets/images: Geometric Shapes Worksheets

# Venn Diagrams

Venn Diagrams

Saying Venn Diagram may have others responding with “what diagrams?” While many may know what this is right away and be able to visualize a standard image in their head, there are others that may think you are speaking a language other than English. Venn Diagrams are beneficial visuals for students to look at in order to compare different sets of items or ideas. It also benefits the teacher by providing a tool that is inexpensive, and simple to draw or recreate for those of you who are like me without a whole lot of artistic ability. The Venn Diagrams can be recreated on paper, a board, or with objects (string, hula-hops, rubber bands, etc.).

The activity this week allows students to get up and move. The activity is to have students ask each other what items each other likes. Each student will basically be taking a survey making sure they ask each and every student in the class what their answer is. For this example, I will use types of beverages. Each student will receive a piece of paper with the name of everyone in the class along the left side of the paper and the two food items on the top such as the one shown here:

The students then go around asking each other if they prefer to drink water, soda, or like them the same (both). They continue with this until their table is filled out such as the one shown here:

Next the students can put this information into a Venn Diagram in order to visualize the data.

The students are now able to related their data they received from their survey and put it into a visual picture that they can use to interpret it. By the looks of this two people in the class, Tom and Craig, prefer to drink soda over water. Becky and Stephanie like them the same so they are put into the middle part of the Venn Diagram. Samantha is in the right circle of this diagram as she likes water over soda. This activity will also create questions for the students to answer such as what is the total universe being looked at and what would happen if someone said they prefer juice. This activity could be built on more by adding more options for the students to choose from such as juice. The students could then create the visual such as the one here in order to learn more about Venn Diagrams and the usefulness they provide.

There are many benefits associated with this activity. First the students are encouraged to get up and move around. This helps the students keep focused as they are not just sitting at their desk watching and listening to someone else just explain the idea of Venn Diagrams to them. The students are also able to get to know one another better. This activity requires students to communicate with one another in a learning environment. They may find they have more in common with their peers than they thought they did before. This activity can also be built off of. It can be made more complicated or less complicated based upon the age. It can also be used for many different topic choices not just beverages. The teacher is able to ask students their input and what would happen if another factor was brought into the situation.

Venn Diagrams are a useful tool for both teachers and students. While the initial concept of them may seem boring and easy those who use them come to find they can be used in so many different ways that can be fun. This is a way for the students to have a hand on activity in order to learn about Venn Diagrams and data.