1st Grade: 1st Edition Sample Activity

Sample Activities:
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This page is an overview and menu page for all the information you need to do this Grade 1 activity.

About the Activity

In the activity Pattern Block Shapes students find different ways to fill a shape with pattern blocks. They record which pattern blocks they use, how many of each, and the total number of blocks used. Their work focuses on:

  • filling an outline with shapes

  • finding combinations of shapes that fill a region

  • counting and adding

To do this activity, you, the teacher, will need:

(These files are provided in Portable Document Format (PDF) and can be read using Adobe's free Acrobat Reader. If you don't have this application, you can download it at Adobe's web site.)

Your students will need:

About the Unit

Quilt Squares and Block Towns is the first grade unit on the geometry strand in the Investigations curriculum. One emphasis of the unit is careful observation and description of geometric shapes. Another emphasis is how shapes can go together or be taken apart to make other shapes. This relationship is similar to the one children at this age are learning to pull apart and put together numbers. Students also investigate the relationship between 3-D shapes and 2-D representations of those shapes. Finally, this unit introduces students to the idea of motion through space.

" I... use the information that is acquired from observations and choice time activities. The kids keep portfolios and I often bring out the work that they did in activities [like this one]. I might sit down with a parent, for example with [child's] mother and say, "She is very flexible in her problem solving. She can draw, use a number line, think abstractly in her head. She has a lot of strategies available. She can read a problem and understand it. Her comprehension is at that level." -- Grade 1 Teacher

"I think that people misguidedly think that doing math this way is only a matter of discovery and that there's no form around it. And I would really argue that there is an element of discovery to it and new ideas pop up all the time or new ways of approaching things, but (it's) actually a very structured way of learning mathematics. I feel that very strongly after teaching if for a few years. I think that without a very full explanation of the curriculum it might seem like it's a matter of putting materials down and letting kids discover relationships like 20 years ago we'd put out Dienes blocks and people would discover the algorithm for borrowing or whatever, or you'd put a lot of science things down and you could discover. Since then we've learned that you need to structure things, to lead kids, if that's where you want to end up. You need a good idea of the ways to get there. This particular math series and sequence is very highly structured to lead kids to an understanding, that is not based just on whether you have an ability to discover. Some kids need a structure to end up where we want them to end up. This provides it. It's our job as teachers to show that it's true." -- Grade 4 Teacher

"With the first graders, because they have been in a kindergarten which is working in this way, it's up and running... they are ready to take this on, they expect to share their ideas. They expect that someone will challenge them. They are ready to take on someone else's thinking. " -- Grade 1 Teacher

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