Monday, March 24, 2014

Pre-teaching before Pythagorean Theorem

      The Pythagorean Theorem unit is going to be so much fun to teach this year. I have never had the time to go into this topic with the depth that I plan to this year. There are so many great activities it is hard to narrow it down. My Pre Algebra students need to review some of the prerequisites for this unit so I took the 1 1/2 before spring break to review some of these concepts.

1. Measuring and Classifying Angles
     The students always love working with the protractors and after 4 long days of state testing it was exactly the type of activity they needed. We measured and drew angles adding these pages to our INB's. This foldable came about by accident. When I printed up the flash cards for perfect squares and square roots (see below) there were empty flashcards on the last page. I printed the flashcards on card stock and couldn't bear to not use it. In my mission to use scrap paper, I created this foldable. :)

The students used protractors to draw their own angles where the green post it is.

     I love utilizing materials that I have. In hindsight I may arrange these horizontally next year so they all fit onto one page.

2. Measuring and Classifying Triangles
     We completed this foldable and practice sheet from 4mulaFun  for our INB's. It was a good review of triangles for the kids and they are getting so much better with the cutting and pasting  activities. I finally gave up on glue and have the students tape their foldables in their notebooks. They were a nightmare with the glue, it was everywhere and the tops would get clogged. I used glue sticks but they didn't last long at all. Tape is expensive so any ideas from my readers is appreciated.

3. Sum of the angles of a triangle.
     I didn't really need to review this topic for Pythagorean Theorem but my students background is lacking so as long as we were talking about triangles and angles, I added this in for them. I can't believe I never saw this activity before to show the sum of the angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees. It takes no preparation on the part of the teacher and I used paper from my scrap basket. YES! I had the kids take scraps of paper and draw an acute triangle, right triangle and obtuse triangle. The size or angle measures were up to the kids to decide. Then they colored or marked all the angles of the triangles. I then had them rip the angles and reassemble them to form a straight line. So easy and a great visual for them. It took a few tries to get the angles lined up so it is like a puzzle. They loved it.
Tear the triangles into three pieces. Then assemble to form a straight line.
A great visual for showing the sum of angles of a triangle.
     Yes, I know the top triangle isn't lined up in a straight line. Funny none of the kids caught that! Not to worry, I will fix it.

4. Creating a geometry star
     It was the day before spring break and nobody wanted to be at school. There was an assembly and the classes were shortened to 36 minutes and the kids were, you know, a bit excited. What to do? Since we were studying triangles we did this quick project. Most of the kids finished in the 36 minutes and they were busy the entire time, calm and happy. Isn't that the way it should be before break? Again, I like this because all that was needed was paper, pencil, ruler and colored pencils. Easy. And it gets better, it is free on teachers pay teacher from Virtually MontessoriAfter break I will post some of the pictures the students created.


5.  Square numbers and square roots.

     We are making flash cards to memorize perfect squares and square roots. You can go to kitzkitz  to make your own flashcards to print. We  will cut the flash cards and then put them into envelopes in our INB's. This idea is from Mrs. Hester's Classroom. I only had the kids do the perfect squares for this lesson. They learned this very early in the year but now I have them memorize the squares through 25. The envelope to make the pocket is from homeschoolshare. They have a fantastic collection of templates you can use that are free. They also have templates for foldables that you can type on and print up. Check them out, they are a great resource.

                Here is the link to the flash cards for perfect squares and square roots (make sure to download the document to see square roots as well.) The originals are large and good for a math center but they use seven pages of paper. When I printed the individual flash cards for the students, I printed 4 pages on one page. That way I only used two pieces of paper per student. I'm always trying to save paper when possible.

I gave the students  the smaller version of the flashcards and they fit in the pocket nicely. You could also have two pockets instead of just one.
     I hope there is something here that is new that you will be able to use. One thing I am noticing with Common Core is that everyone is teaching the same topic at the same time so there is so much available for us to use with the kids. It is amazing. I am finishing up my Pythagorean Theorem unit and hope to post it by the end of the week.

                                                                 Until next time,




  1. I just found your blog today while I was looking for some new Pythagorean Theorem ideas; I'm getting bored with doing the same things over and over! To answer your question about tape/glue/whatever, I have my students supply a roll or two of scotch tape and they have a place to store theirs in the classroom. Most of them still have tape at this point in the year. I also have a supply of glue sticks for when they don't have tape or for certain foldables when glue sticks just work better. I teach in a poor area, and most families were OK with providing $1 worth of tape and most kids don't waste it since its theirs.

  2. Thanks Kathryn,
    I teach in a poor area as well. We do ask the kids to bring in some items already to leave in class, graph paper, Kleenex, markers, colored pencils and disinfectant wipes. Not too many actually bring them. I will add this to the list and hopefully they will bring some. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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