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Dienes shapes.

Make a chain of shapes where the next one differs from the previous by one feature. This activity was from Math from Three to Seven, although I couldn’t find the shapes anywhere so I made my own.

Task 1: build-up

Supplies: paper, colored pencils

What to do:  
1) tell your child we are going to play with colored shapes and ask: if we have three types of shapes (square, circle, triangle) and four different colors (red, blue, yellow, green), how many different colored shapes can we have? 
2) let him/her draw and explore for a little bit, then show the first page. 

This builds from the Outfit activity and maybe he/she will figure out to multiply. 

Task 2: chains

Supplies: all the pages of the above download 

What to do:  
1) give the shapes to your child and describe the four attributes: shape, color, size, fill type (dotted or plain).  
2) invite your child to construct a parade of cards so that the image on each card differs from the one on the previous card by one attribute only. 

It might help to describe the image out loud. (For example, if we start with a red dotted small triangle, the next card could be a red dotted small square or a blue dotted small triangle but NOT a blue dotted small square)

3) you can pick a beginning card and an end card and invite your child to fill in the rest of the line. 

4) your child can create a "circular" parade

How it went

I made the mistake of trying this activity right after the Outfit one (we had skipped math club the day before and I wanted to do both today). It was a mistake. Nia lost focus by the time we started on this one.

When I asked how many colored shapes could be made out of 3 shapes and 4 colors, Bel made the connection with what we did with the outfit. To help Nia, I suggested she drew the shapes with different colors. She did that but used two colors (so she had 6 shapes) and started counting the corners and got to 15 or 16.

They both loved cutting out the cards.

The game did not go as well. They were very possessive of the cards they cut out. Bel had all the plain ones and Nia all the dotted ones. Nia was very reluctant about using cards that were not hers. And she wasn’t interested in doing much. Bel got the mechanics of the game, but with Nia being unwilling, it wasn’t that fun. I had promised they would be able to play with their cards when mathclub was over. Of course, that made them both ask if they could be done – I was annoyed and ended the game then.

In retrospect, it wasn’t a good idea to do two activities back to back. They seemed to be more interested having their own cards and sorting them.


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