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Lianna Zolkower-Kutz

November 17, 2014

EDUC 531
Term III Mathematics Assignment: Two-Dimensional Geometry and Art
Grade: Second
Group Size: Six Students
My goal is to engage students in work with two-dimensional shapes that is both relevant
and requires them to use problem-solving skills. The second-graders in my field placement have
recently started a unit on geometry that builds on their knowledge of shapes, requiring them to
use more rigorous definitions of shapes using geometric terms such as sides, angles, edges, and
faces. Using a familiar context, Philadelphia murals, which they have been studying as part of a
literacy unit, I will have students identify two-dimensional shapes in a real-world context. I will
structure this scavenger hunt will questions based on shape categories: for instance, I will ask
them to find, "three different shapes with four sides," or "a shape with two sets of parallel sides,"
or "a shape with no right angles." The second part of this activity will allow students to create
their own art with shapes while engaging in a spatial reasoning activity. Students will use pattern
blocks to create a picture, whose outline they will trace. They will then exchange outlines,
challenging a classmate to make the image with the pattern blocks. The content focus of these
lessons will be on reasoning with two-dimensional shapes in order to strengthen their definitions
of these various shapes. In the area of mathematical practice, the focus will be on the Common
Core Standard "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them." My pedagogical focus
will be on assessing student understanding by requiring students to articulate their thinking about
shapes and being attentive to the different ways in which they approach and solve problems.
In considering the concepts and skills I want to target in this lesson, I am informed by
Chapin and Johnson's (2006) ideas on the development of geometric and spatial reasoning,
especially their description of the van Hiele levels of geometric understanding. Based on my
knowledge of these students, they have progressed through the first van Hiele level and are able
to recognize most two-dimensional shapes, regardless of differences in size and orientation.
Having them identify and sort shapes are the kind of comparing and classifying activities that
Chapin and Johnson contend are important for students in the second van Hiele level. Students in
this stage are beginning to "to analyze shapes and figures based on properties and attributes such
as right angles and parallel sides," skills that sorting and defining shapes based on certain
attributes (number of sides, number of angles, angle size) will reinforce (Chapin & Johnson, p.
221). In addition, by focusing on specific attributes, these activities will provide the foundation
for the informal deduction that characterizes level 3, such as that all squares are rectangles.
The puzzle creation segment of the lesson will provide further work with shapes,
allowing students to become more familiar with their properties by handling them. Working with
the pattern blocks will helping them learn to compose and decompose shapes (which connects to
Common Core Standards for second grade in geometry) and provide a tactile way to compare
and contrast shapes by their attributes. It will also develop "spatial visualization," or "the ability
to slide, flip, turn, and otherwise move figures on a plane or in space," an important component
of spatial sense according to Chapin & Johnson (p. 248-249). Students will use spatial

visualization, shifting and moving shapes in their head and on paper, to imagine their own puzzle
creations and to solve their classmates' puzzles. As Chapin and Johnson state, spatial perception
is an important skill that prepares students for more advanced geometry as well as making them
better problem solvers (p. 269).
The tasks I have chosen place geometry in a real-world context, connecting geometric
concepts to familiar pieces of art and giving students a chance to design their own art using twodimensional shapes. These tasks are highly visual and, in the case of the pattern-block puzzles,
tactile. They are student-centered by requiring students to act as thinkers and designers. The
puzzles also require students to engage in problem solving related to geometry and spatial
I also plan to use meaningful discourse by leading discussions at the beginning and the
end of the lesson, helping them to make sense of important concepts and practices. During the
scavenger hunt activity, I will ask students to justify their identifications using what they know
about properties of shapes. In the wrap-up discussion, we will engage in a strategy-sharing
discussion to make students more aware of different approaches to problem solving, as well as
the content goals of the lesson. To create a more student-centered discussion, I will use talk
moves to encourage students to respond to each other, calling on students to agree, disagree, add
on, and compare each other's thinking.
I have chosen tools that emphasize the relevance of geometric concepts and allow
students to actively "do" math. Again, murals highlight the use of geometry in the wider world,
and the puzzle design activity allows students to create their own art using shapes. Pattern blocks
are a familiar tool for students and offer a way of exploring geometry that is tactile as well as
visual. The design of pattern blocks also supports work with composing and decomposing
Norms such as explanation, justification, acknowledgement of multiple strategies, and
respectful discussion are already in place in this classroom during math instruction, and I plan to
maintain these during these lessons. I will achieve these through the kind of discourse I have
described. I also want to emphasize problem solving as an important aspect of math and position
students as thinkers and doers, which I hope to accomplish through our discussions and the
problem solving activity.
This lesson connects to the geometry unit that the students are currently doing in their
classroom as well as second-grade Common Core standards for geometry. The emphasis on
problem solving also connects to the Common Core practice, "Make sense of problems and
persevere in solving them." This work with defining shapes, using shape names and other
geometric terms, and solving problems using shapes will contribute to a base of knowledge that
will support more advanced work in geometry.
I purposefully designed this lesson to show students that geometry has real-world
applications, in this case in the area of art. I firmly believe that students are more motivated to
learn when they see the purpose of what they are learning and its connection to their lives. In
addition, I designed these tasks to draw on students visual and kinesthetic intelligences as a way
of engaging them more fully with the content. I also tried to strike a balance between individual

tasks and group discussion to allow students to grapple with the material in multiple ways. I hope
that group discussion of shape definitions and problem-solving strategies will help students
clarify and expand their thinking.
Student will identify two-dimensional shapes in real-word situations.
Students will reason with different properties of shapes, connecting these properties to shape
Students will further develop spatial reasoning by designing their own pattern block puzzle using
elements of art and mathematics and by solving classmates' pattern block puzzles.
Common Core Standard: Reason with shapes and their attributes.
Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles
or a given number of equal faces.1 Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons,
and cubes.
Common Core Practice: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Materials and Preparation
Photographs of murals
Scavenger Hunt Worksheets (6)
Paper for Puzzle Design (at least 12 pages)
Pattern Blocks (6 separate plastic baggies)
Crayons and Colored Pencils
Folders (6)
Classroom Arrangement and Management Issues
Students: Rae, Shahrin, Aoife, Eddie, Daniel, Christian
I will conduct this lesson in a small multi-use room on one of the upper floors of Penn
Alexander. The room is carpeted and has a table, allowing students to work either on the floor or
at the table. The launch activity (the scavenger hunt) will occur with all students sitting at a table.
During the exploration activity (puzzle construction and solving) students will have the option of
sitting either at the table on the floor to give them a chance to move around. During this time, I
will circulate to assist students and address management issues as necessary. Finally, we will all
reconvene at the table for the wrap up. Prior to the start of the lesson, I will remind the students
of classroom norms for group discussions, including raising one s hand to speak, refraining from
interrupting, listening to classmates ideas, and responding to these ideas productively (I agree, I
disagree, I would like to add something). I believe the lesson contains enough hands-on activity
to interest the students throughout.

50 minutes total (46 min. for instruction, approx. 4 min. for transitions)
Prior to lesson: seat students at table, set norms for behavior.
1) Launch: Scavenger Hunt (12 min.)
I will begin with a warm-up activity that will start students thinking again about twodimensional shapes. I will say, Artists often use shapes to create art. I know you have been
studying Philadelphia murals. We are going to be looking for shapes in some of these murals.
I will have one student pass out the worksheets.
I will project an image of a Philadelphia mural (see Image 1). Students will have 3 minutes to
find shapes for the categories on their Scavenger Hunt worksheet individually. I will instruct
them to draw the shape and write its name (I will circulate to help with writing).
We will then spend 3 minutes discussing what they found. Possible questions:
o What did you find for that category? What shape is it?
o Did anyone find anything else for that category?
o Did anyone has a hard time finding a shape for a certain category?
o Are there any other interesting shapes that you see?
2) Exploration: Make Your Own Shape Art Puzzle
(a) Part I: Design a Puzzle (15 min.)
I will explain to the students that they will now have a chance to design their own art using
shapes. This art will also be a puzzle that you will give to someone else to solve.
You will take the pattern blocks and (secretly!) design a picture. I will give everyone a folder
to stand up so that they can design their image without anyone seeing.
When you have finished your design, you will draw two versions on the paper I will give
you: one will be your solution copy with the outline of each of the blocks you have used. The
other will be just an outline. On your solution copy, list or label the shapes you used.
If you finish your design early, you can work on adding color and detail to your solution
copy to make it more of a work of art.
One student will pass out the papers and another will pass out a set of pattern blocks (I will
prepare) to each of their classmates.
Students will work for approximately 15 minutes.
I will give a two-minute warning.
B. Part II: Puzzle Exchange (12 min.)
After 15 minutes, I will have everyone put their solution copy in their folder and gather back
at the table with the outline-only copy of their puzzle.
Everyone will pass their puzzle to the person on the left.
Now you will try to solve your classmate's puzzle! You will have 10 minutes.
When you have found a solution, trace the pattern blocks you used and list the shapes you
used and how many of each on the side of your paper.
Challenge to students who finish early: is there another solution? If you can't find another
solution, I want you to try and explain why.
I will circulate to assist students who are having trouble. If anyone is frustrated or upset, I
will reassure them that it is okay, and say, "Your classmate created a tricky puzzle! Let's

think about how we might solve it." I will then engage them in a discussion to try and
problem solve.
As I circulate, I will also make notes about students' processes and strategies to use in the
final discussion.
3) Debrief and Wrap Up (7 min.)
We will reconvene at the table.
Students will produce their solution copies and hand to the person who worked to solve their
puzzle. Things to think about: (2 min. to reflect independently)
Were you able to find a solution?
Was your solution the same as the creator's? If not, how was it different?
We will then come back together to discuss the students' discoveries and strategies: (5 min.)
I will call on students selectively based my observations, e.g. who found solving their puzzle
challenging, who found more than one solution, etc.
Whose solution matched the creator's?
Who was surprised when they saw the creator's solution?
What did you find most challenging about your puzzle? (I will encourage students to address
the creator of the puzzle)
Who found more than one solution? What solutions did you find? Why do you think you
were able to find more than one solution?
Anticipating Students' Responses and My Possible Responses
I expect that these students will know the names of most two-dimensional shapes and will
be able to sort them by number of sides. They might not be as familiar with angles, which is a
concept that I can clarify. I might have to help some of them spell the names of the shapes. I
think they will enjoy and visual and tactile elements of the lesson and the ability to be creative.
In this group in particular there are a number of gifted artists (Christian, Aoife, Rae, and Shahrin)
who I believe will produce interesting work. The students who work more slowly and
deliberately, particularly Aoife and Daniel, might have trouble finishing their designs, so I will
be on hand to assist them. The group is pretty well divided between talkers (Christian, Shahrin,
Eddie) and students who tend to talk less (Aoife, Rae, Daniel), so I will have to be purposeful
about drawing the last three students into the conversation; I am hoping that having time to
reflect before each discussion will make it easier for them to contribute. I might have trouble
getting students to reflect on their problem-solving experiences. As a result, I might have to
follow up a question such as Why do you think you were able to find more than one solution?
with a more specific question, such as What are the different shapes you used for each
Assessment Checklist
Can identify
2D shapes by
name in realworld context
Can sort





shapes based
on properties
shapes to
create an
shapes by
solutions to
shape puzzle.
in solving
problem at

The students in this group represent a range of mathematical understandings and artistic
aptitudes. As a result, I expect that some students will have an easier time with these activities
than others. Eddie and Christian are particularly able students in math, and Christian is a talented
artist as well, so there is a chance that they might finish creating and solving their puzzles early.
If they do, I will have them add artistic flourishes to their creations or find multiple solutions to
their classmates' puzzles. A few of these students, such as Daniel or Aoife, work more slowly
and deliberately, and for this reason I will circulate to help them with the problem solving
portion of the lesson and make it clear that not being able to solve the puzzle is acceptable. A
number of these students are gifted artists, and for this reason I believe they will be highly
engaged in this activity.
Daniel is an English Language Learner and receives ESL instruction. He is able to follow
what is going on in the classroom pretty well, but I want to make sure my lesson includes him as
much as possible. To this end, I plan to be particularly attentive to how I give directions: I will
speak clearly and not too quickly, and he will be the first student I go to individually to make
sure that he knows what he is supposed to do. I will also try to use visual models as much as
possible. For instance, during the scavenger hunt, if we are identifying and discussing the

definition of a triangle, I will point to the triangle in the image and draw it on the board,
indicating its three sides or angles as necessary. In addition, I will be purposeful about drawing
him into the discussion, calling on him for questions I know he can answer, for instance. My
hope is that the focus on visual and tactile skills will in fact give him a chance to shine.
Scavenger Hunt Image
Image 1: Watchtowers, Joe Boruchow


Find These Shapes!

Three Sides

Four Sides

Four Right Angles

Four Sides That
Are Not All The
Same Length

Shape Scavenger Hunt



Name of Shape

More Than Four


No Straight Edges

Two Sets of
Parallel Sides

Two or More
Shapes that Create
Another Shape

A Shape With Only

Three Angles and
at Least One Set of
Parallel Sides