I recently started another math class for elementary education major and am continuing to love what I will get to go into when I graduate. The topics that we have been exploring for the past few days have ranged from Van Hiele levels to different ways students learn shapes to noticing and recognizing attributes. One thing that I have particularly enjoyed learning about was attributes. What I particularly enjoyed through this process was that I was beginning to notice how I was finding patterns. I think this was important as a future teacher as this was not something that I have really thought about much but needs to be as noticing patterns is a critical step in school that elementary age students make. Often students do not know how to even begin. From this thought what stuck out to me the most was how important it was to have both examples and non-examples. I found both of these to be important so that I could come up with a possible rule then use the examples and non-examples to either confirm or deny that that was the actual rule.
One activity that I found online at http://www.crazyforfirstgrade.com/2011/12/attributes-and-sorting-fun.html was a game that could help students develop this ability called “guess my rule.” This would be a game where students are given a worksheet with a circle on it and develop a rule for shapes that should go in the circle. Students would then use shape blocks and place these in the circle according to whether or not they belong inside the circle. What I really like about this activity is that students get to practice creating the rule and using their judgement on if the shape they have fits in the circle or not. I also like how this activity could be use multiple ways as students can spend time creating the rule as well as trying to figure out what fellow classmates came up with as their rule. If done in partners and the student guessing finds another rule that would also fit this group of shapes or if there was a shape in their circle that contradicted their rule this could lead for a good discussion. Students could talk about why the shape they have breaks their rule or if there was another shape they could add that would help define between the two rules the students came up with. One thing that I would like to modify about this game would be to create a space where students could put shapes that do not fit the rule. This would help emphasize the idea I discussed earlier about the importance of examples and non-examples. This could also lead to good discussion as to why particular shapes are not “in.” Students could also discuss what the shapes outside the circle have in common and notice they all lack the attributes of those inside the circle. All activities help student develop critical thinking and problem solving skills that are critical in elementary age students.