2nd Grade: Squares, Squares, Squares

In 2nd grade we have been having some fun with the square.  The kids started by sharing what they know about the square in their journal.

**Click on the images to see them full size.

We also looked at a logic puzzle called How Many Squares.  The kids had to count the squares, explain their strategy.  We then counted a second time to see if we could find even more.  Most kids found 16-24 their first time around, they were surprised to discover there were many more. 

This week we also looked at the magic that can happen when we fold a square in various ways…new polygons emerge.  The 2nd graders loved learning all of this new math terminology.

The students had the opportunity to use a protractor to the angles on various squares around the room.  They discovered that all squares have 90 degree angles.  This information helped them when they worked to write a program to create a square in Hopscotch.

Some 2nd graders took their square program to a new level.  They made it like a game.  You click on their character and a fact about a square appears.

2nd Grade: Polygon Fun

After studying polygons, the second graders had to create an image using one of their favorite polygons in Google Slides.  They also had to list some of the rules that make a polygon a polygon and create a haiku about their polygon.  I was quite impressed with their creations.  We definitely need to work on understanding how to convey the Big Idea within the 17 syllables of a Haiku, but I think it was a good first start.

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2nd Grade: Polygons & Squares

We just can’t seem to let squares go.  There is so much fun to be had looking at all things square.  This week the kids learned about square numbers and square roots.  I started by giving the kids some multiplication problems to solve: 0 x 0, 1 x 1, 2 x 2, 3 x 3, and 4 x 4.  The kids drew an image to represent the problem and recorded the answers.  We then used square tiles to think about how we could build different size squares.  We started with one tile and the kids agreed with had a square.  They used the rules they had learned about squares to support their thinking.  We then tested out whether 2 square tiles could be one square.  The 2nd graders explained it wasn’t possible 2 tiles made a rectangle, which is not a square.  We tested 3 tiles with no luck.  When we tried 4 tiles the kids discovered they could make a 2 by 2 tile square.  We continued to test numbers out.  The kids started to accurately predict which number would next build a square.  I then handed out graph paper and let the kids create various squares.  As they made the squares, the kids started to see a pattern develop that connected to our earlier math problems.  At this time I introduced them to the term “squared”.  The kids practiced squaring numbers using their graph paper.  Next we played with square roots and looked at the connections to square numbers.

Photo Nov 10, 2 46 48 PMThe kids also started Polygon centers.  The 2nd graders will rotate through 4 stations to become more familiar with polygons, their rules and patterns.

Polygon Centers:

Polygon Riddle by Jovanah and Alena

Polygons: How do we know? by Emily, Aubrey and Sophie

2nd Grade: Polygons

This week the 2nd graders had a chance to show off all that they have learned about squares and tangrams, through their assessment.  I loved seeing the excited to show off their learning.  Here are a few examples of their work.

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It has been fun to focus on squares and the 7 Tans that make up a square, but it is time to learn that these shapes belong to a bigger category, POLYGONS.  This week we watched a Brain Pop to learn details, language of the discipline, and rules related to Polygons.  The kids took notes and next week will work on various Polygon stations to help cement their learning.  The understanding of polygons will take us further into our study of structures.

In 2nd grade we also worked on X-Tiles, using clues to discover the unknown number.  X-Tiles is a fun way to work on our Convergent Thinking skills.

2nd Grade: Tangrams

The second graders and I have had a blast studying the square.  Who knew how far and wide you could go learning about the square: geometry, square numbers, square roots, magic squares, perfect squares, idioms (Don’t be a square.), etc.  I think we could spend a whole year exploring the many facets of the square…but I guess it is time to start branching out a bit.

Two weeks ago we took a square and we divided it up into 7 other shapes: 2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangles, a square, and a parallelogram. As we divided up the square we discussed the following terms:

congruent       similar              right angle            90 degrees      

square            perpendicular    right triangle        quadrilateral

quad                lateral               trapezoid              parallel

This week we found out that the special shapes we cut out of our square have a name, Tangrams.  We read some of the history about Tangrams and the kids recorded the rules associated with Tans.

Next we read Grandfather Tang’s Story and the kids used their Tangrams to create the different characters in the story.  After reading half of the story, I had the kids create a noun using their pieces.  They glued them onto a sheet of paper and used crayons to add details and bring their Tangrams to life.  When they finished I paired the kids up and they had to a Force Fitting Noun story.  They are creating a story that incorporates both their Tangram nouns.  We have Charlie Brown interacting with a tiger and a magical butterfly working with a temple.  I look forward to the stories the kids create.

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2nd Grade: Spectacular Squares

This week we spent time really investigating the square.  We went beyond the typical understanding that it has 4 equal sides.  

The kids started by sharing what they already know about squares and we listed their ideas on the board.  The understanding was fairly basic, it is a shape with 4 sides and those sides are equal.

I then gave each student a square piece of paper and we looked at how we could split our square into 7 additional shapes, building our own set of Tangrams.  The students had to watch and listen carefully as we folded our paper to create a square, 2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangle, a smaller square, and a parallelogram. 


right triangles, congruent, perpendicular, quadrilateral, parallelogram, trapezoid, rhombus, right angles, 90 degrees, and diagonal

Photo Sep 29, 2 34 20 PMAfter folding and labeling our square with our new vocabulary words, we did it one more time, but this time we actually cut the pieces apart.  The kids loved to see how a square could be transformed.  They had fun putting their pieced together to rebuild the square and then to deconstruct the square.  Next week we will play with their new Tangram pieces.

Next the kids were given a logic puzzle: How Many Squares Do You See?  This was actually the second time they had seen the puzzle.  We put on our BLUE THINKING HATS so that we could think about our thinking, make a plan.  The kids then counted the squares and shared how many they found.  We had anything from 16 to 32 squares found.  We discussed whether we should have different answers.  Most of the kids agreed that we shouldn’t since we all had the same paper. 🙂 This week we looked at them again.  I told the kids that there were more than 32 squares and challenged them to find more than they found last week.  Everyone found more then their first time, and some even found the full 40 squares.

Photo Oct 03, 10 50 31 AMAt the end of the day the 2nd graders shared some rules to being square and a new word that they learned.

Photo Oct 03, 10 52 59 AMBe on the look out for more fun with squares next week.

2nd Grade: Biomimicry

The second graders were introduced to a new term two weeks ago, Biomimicry.  We looked carefully at the word and the kids noticed that the word mimic was in the Biomimicry.  We discussed that bios means life and the 2nd graders made some predictions as to what the term biomimicry stood for; “the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs [encouraging] scientists, engineers, architects and innovators of all ages who can use those models to create sustainable technologies.”  So essentially, looking to nature to find ways to invent, solve problems, and create.  We watched a video clip that showed some examples of Biomimicry in action.  One that really got my attention was fabric designed based on a leaf that repels liquids and stays dry.  With 3 kids and 2 dogs I would appreciate all of my fabric being treated in this manner.

Last week the kids read an article about how the bur, the shark, and the gecko inspired innovation.  The bur is what led us to Velcro.  Who knew that such a nasty seed to lead us to such a useful invention.  I love to tell of all the diapers I wasted in my babysitting years because they didn’t have Velcro tabs. The shark led Speedo to improve its design of the swimsuit for Olympians.  Every millisecond counts! The small hairs on the bottom of a geckos feet, called setae, led to the creation of some very strong glue.

This week we continued our study of biomimicry by looking closely at the adaptations of a giraffe.  We found that a giraffe has a heart that is 2.5 times bigger than you would expect, which allows a giraffe to stand without fainting.  The skin around the legs and the neck of a giraffe is extremely tight, much like a G-Suit, to allow the blood to move around the body more efficiently.  This research led into a discussion of some possible inventions based on the giraffe’s adaptations.

Next week the second graders will choose an animal to research and the students will brainstorm inventions based on what they learned about their animal.  You might start talking about a plant or animal, their adaptations, and how this can lead to a new invention or fix to a current problem.

TESSELLATIONS: Many weeks ago, after studying polygons in nature the 2nd graders learned what it means to tessellate and had a chance to create their own tessellations.  Here are a few of the finished pieces.

Photo Feb 14, 3 06 17 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 06 45 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 10 52 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 12 16 PM

2nd Grade: Platonic Solids and Crystals

This week we worked on finishing up our work with Polygons and Platonic Solids.  The kids worked on finishing up some of their polygon centers.  We then created our own hexahedron, a 3-D shape with 6 faces.  It is a special type of polyhedron and is one of the 5 Platonic Solids.  The kids recorded rules of a Platonic solid, their favorite polyhedron, what one of the polyhedrons reminded them of, the names of the 5 Platonic solids, and their own name on each of the 6 faces of their hexahedron.  Below you will see a video of the kids with their hexahedrons.  They did a terrific job making them.

At the end of the day, I had the kids put on their scientist caps and their observations skills to examine three different substances.  They used pictures and words to record what they observed. This will lead us into the world of crystals and hopefully the kids will see how crystals connect to polygons, polyhedrons, and structures.  Here are some images of the little scientists at work.

2nd Grade: Polygons and Poly-WHATS?

In 2nd grade we continued to work on finishing our Polygon centers.  Many kids are nearly finished and ready to showcase all that they have learned next week in their final assessment.  The centers have been fun and their new knowledge will positively impact their understanding of man-made and natural structures. Enjoy some of their finished centers below.

Polygon Riddle by Nate

Another Polygon Riddle by Michael and Dasom

Polygon Riddle by Jonas and John

Polygons by Abby

This week the kids were also introduced to another new word: Polyhedrons. The second graders knew right off that it probably had something to do with shapes because it started with POLY like polygons.  One even guessed that maybe they were 3-D shapes. We watched a BrainPop and learned some new vocabulary related to polyhedrons.  In the video the kids were introduced to a special type of polyhedron called the Platonic Solids.  The 2nd graders had the chance to touch each solid and count the edges, faces, and vertices.  Next week they will make the hexahedron.  They are very excited.