When students build this bulletin board about geometry, lots of fun learning takes place! First, students get to design the layout themselves and decide which shapes will go where. Second, they become more familiar with the names of the shapes they are using. (Pass me an octagon, please?)
Your students will also see that geometry is a practical, useful subject, one that is often used in design and layout for engineering, architectural design and other projects. Last, but not least, they will learn so much more if they design the bulletin board instead of having someone else do it for them.
The overall board, when finished, will depict a small-town setting with streets, subdivisions, a business district, a park, various modes of transportation, traffic signals, a railroad crossing and any other details you wish to include. On the chalkboard, the teacher will sketch the bare bones of a town model, then divide the board into four sections:
1. A residential area with a park and playground. 2. A main street or town square (think courthouse, cafe, theater, post office, library, etc.) 3. A school building with playground, sports field or stadium, etc. 4. A public service area which depicts some or all of these: police and fire stations, water treatment plant, bus or train depot, etc.
The teacher will have on hand dozens of geometric cut-out shapes for this project. Make these in various sizes and colors from card stock or construction paper. Include circles, squares, triangles, diamonds, octagons and any other geometric shapes you want to use. Set aside some of each for four different groups.
Now divide students into four groups (or let them volunteer) for certain sections of the bulletin board design. Each of the four groups will be given a quarter section of white paper that will later be transferred to the bulletin board after their part of the assignment is complete.
Encourage groups to brainstorm and discuss how they want their part of this assignment to look. Here are some helpful tips:
– Make your design interesting, but simple enough to finish in the allotted time. You can always add to it later.
– Select someone to lightly sketch the basics of your design and pencil in the names of things and where they will go.
– When the sketch is complete, play with the shapes and lay them out various ways to fill the area. Once you are satisfied with the way they look, work together as a group and attach them with glue sticks.
– As you work, cut-out shapes may be trimmed or altered if necessary as long as they remain a basic geometric shape.
– Use all of your cut-outs if possible, and be sure each type of shape you were given is included in your design.
After all groups finish their sections of this “Geo-Town,” attach them to the bulletin board. Give each group time to point out why and where they included the various shapes. Now, invite other classes and teachers to come by and see your bulletin board. And keep having fun with geometry!