Spatial Relations

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"When is a Triangle a Triangle?" Activity

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This activity provides participants with an opportunity to explore their comfort level and fears around teaching geometry and spatial relations.  

by Linda M. Platas

Activity for Teacher Educators

This activity begins with participants reading The Mathematics of Geometry and Spatial Relations handout and the "When is a Triangle a Triangle?" Vignette. This can be assigned as homework prior to the session, or during the session before starting the activity. The accompanying worksheet and PowerPoint slide have a set of questions that participants should reflect upon prior to group discussion.


Table Talk
Ask the participants to spend some time thinking about their answers to these questions (if using the worksheet, they can jot down their thoughts) prior to discussing the questions in their group.


Group Share
Call on groups to share their answers with the class. Participants may share differing levels of knowledge and comfort with geometry and spatial relations. Encourage participants to share both challenges and successes in the classroom and in their own learning. 


Teacher Responses and Where to Take Them
Teachers can have a lot of anxiety about whether they know enough to teach more than common shapes in the domains of geometry and spatial relations. Encourage support within and between groups: everyone has fears about teaching something (including teacher educators!). Because participants may have had disheartening experiences as young geometry students, it is important to take it slow and make sure that all participants gain an understanding of the geometry they are hoping to support in their classrooms, now and in the future.
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