By making ‘paths’ out of different materials and discussing these, children will develop their shape and space language in this activity.
Age 3 to 5
Adults could build on this by providing an environment that will give good opportunities for language work and discoveries.
Gather together a selection of flat shapes of different colours and sizes, with sufficient room to create paths in and around the surroundings. This could be indoors or outdoors using man-made or natural shapes. The children are asked to ‘make paths!’.
Encouraging mathematical thinking and reasoning:
Tell me about your paths.
Let’s look at what everyone has made.
I wonder where this path is going.
I wonder who/what could be going along your path. How do you know what to put next?
Who used more shapes, you or … ?
Why did you put … next to the … ?
Is there a pattern to your path? What could you put after the … ?
Can you make your paths go (under the … , round the … , by the … )?
How many teddies/lorries can use your path?
Can you put more lorries on your path?
Would you like to show your path on paper?
The Mathematical Journey
Comparing and describing:
• using everyday language to describe geometric ideas
• using mathematical language to describe shape, moving from informal such as wiggly, to more specific such as straight or curved
• counting and knowing that the last number in the path tells the total
Adding and subtracting:
• increasing or decreasing the number of shapes in the path
Properties of shapes:
• selecting shapes to add to the path by analysing their properties
• using shapes to solve problems about the route of the path
• Collect all kinds of objects, both natural and man-made, and stack them up into towers.
• Fit different objects into big boxes or drawers.
• Choose things to build with outside.
Small flat shapes that could be used as stepping stones or put together to make a continuous path.
Outside, look for larger flat shapes that are able to be carried safely, both man-made and natural.