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Learning Math Home
Geometry Session 1, Part B: Building from Directions
Session 1 Part A Part B Part C Part D Homework
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Session 1 Materials:

Session 1, Part B:
Building from Directions (35 minutes)

In this activity, you will work on both visualization and communicating mathematically.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics writes:

Communication is an essential part of mathematics and mathematics education. It is a way of sharing ideas and clarifying understanding. Through communication, ideas become objects of reflection, refinement, discussion, and amendment.... Because mathematics is so often conveyed in symbols, oral and written communication about mathematical ideas is not always recognized as an important part of mathematics education.

Principles and Standards of School Mathematics, p. 59
Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000

The goal in this activity will be to use mathematical language to express your ideas and to understand the ideas of others. In the following Interactive Activity, you will look at the effectiveness of various types of descriptions of geometric designs, ranging from descriptions that use informal language to those whose language is precise and mathematical. Note 3

This activity requires the Flash plug-in, which you can download for free from Macromedia's Web site. If you prefer, you can view the non-interactive version of this activity, which doesn't require the Flash plug-in.

Problem B1


When you were building from the given descriptions, what pieces were clear, and what pieces were unclear? What elements of the descriptions made it possible for you to picture (or not to picture) what was described and recreate it?


Problem B2


How closely did your designs match the target? Describe any differences between them and why you think they occurred.

video thumbnail

Video Segment
In this video segment, the participants discuss how they described their geometric designs. Watch this segment after you have completed Part B.

What kinds of words did the participants use in their descriptions? Which descriptions were precise? Which descriptions were less precise?

If you are using a VCR, you can find this segment on the session video approximately 9 minutes and 17 seconds after the Annenberg Media logo.



Principles and Standards of School Mathematics (Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000), 59. Reproduced with permission from the publisher. Copyright © 2000 by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. All rights reserved.

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