Our Mother Goose Time curriculum for the month of February, included geoboards. I fondly remember them from my own elementary school experience. Yet, I really did not remember the main objective of the manipulative!
According to Wikipedia, “a geoboard is a mathematical manipulative used to explore basic concepts in geometry such as perimeter, area and the characteristics of triangles and other polygons.” It’s never too early to start is it???
Initially, it was tricky for the little fingers to master the geoboards. Fine motor skills, including the pincher grasp, are truly challenged during this activity. Rubber bands were flying everywhere during the first few attempts! Happily, no one was discouraged. They quickly developed their own techniques for successfully placing the rubber bands in the desired position and only an occasional band was launched by the end of the month.
Once they figured out how to place the rubber bands, we were able to start using new words to describe their creations. I encouraged them to use appropriate descriptive terms like edge, angle, side, corner, rectangle, trapezoid, triangle, and more. I have noticed the kids consistently are able to differentiate between a rectangle and square if the shapes are side by side. However, if there is no comparison, they are not always able to identify if an object is a square or rectangle. The pegs on the geoboard provided a great visual to use when discussing the difference between rectangles and squares.
When I had one on one time with my son, I would create a shape and ask him to copy it on his board. Then have him create a design and see if I could mimic it. To make this more challenging in the future, I will add a memory element to our game.
I printed off geoboard worksheets to show the kids how to make letters with the bands, but it failed to interest them. My son has been working hard on writing his name this month and I decided not to push it. Pinterest has a plethora of geoboard activities for the future. For the present, I decided to let them just enjoy making their own colorful designs!
Sometimes, it is difficult to see the children’s progress from month to month. However, with this activity it was easy to see the growth with almost every use. It is by far the favorite math manipulative we own and probably the most used item in the playroom, after crayons and puzzles. It is easy for the kids to do while I am in the kitchen or when we have a few minutes to kill before leaving the house.