Geometry Labs is a book of hands-on activities that use manipulatives to teach important ideas in geometry. These 78 activities have enough depth to provide excellent opportunities for discussion and reflection in both middle school and high school classrooms.
- Middle school teachers will find many labs that help prepare students for high school geometry by getting them to think visually and become familiar with fundamental concepts, figures, and vocabulary.
- Teachers of high school geometry —whether traditional, inductive, or technology-based— will find many labs that approach key topics in their curriculum from a different point of view. In some cases, the labs in this book can replace corresponding lessons in your textbook. Other labs can be used to preview or review material that you teach in more traditional ways.
- Trigonometry teachers will find a new approach, using the CircleTrig geoboard, to introduce basic right-triangle and unit-circle trigonometry concepts. This approach also makes trigonometry accessible to younger students.
For a preview of some labs from the book, see:
The book uses tangrams, pattern blocks, cubes, mirrors, plus two manipulatives I designed, the CircleTrig Geoboard, and the Geometry Labs Template.
On one side, an 11 by 11 geoboard. Useful for many things, especially activities about slope, area, distance, the Pythagorean theorem, and simplifying radicals. On the other side, a circle geoboard, with radius 10 cm, and a 360° protractor. Useful for activities leading to the inscribed angle theorem, and to introduce basic trig, both on the unit circle (the unit being the decimeter) and in right triangles. Most of these activities of course can be done on paper, but it's more fun to start on the geoboard.
Geometry Labs Template
Eight different triangles, ten different quadrilaterals, seven different regular polygons, and all the pattern blocks — shapes you need for basic geometry activities. The template is great for exploring the Archimedean tilings. It also includes centimeter and inch rulers, plus a numberless protractor. You can keep it in a 3-ring binder. See it as a PDF.
The template is also useful in introducing translations, reflections, and rotations. See this worksheet.
Connections, Corrections, Extensions, and Revisions
You are welcome to contribute to this page. Send me e-mail.
- Table of contents, Introduction
- Section 1: Angles
- Possible intro to Lab 1.7 (Angles and Triangles in a Circle), by Michael Pershan.
- Consider doing Lab 1.10 (Soccer Angles) before Lab 1.7, as suggested by Alex Wilson.
- Extension of Lab 1.10 (Soccer Angles), using interactive geometry software.
- Section 2: Tangrams
- Possible preview: Tearing Tangrams
- Virtual tangrams
- Section 3: Polygons
- Correction to the Lab 3.9 solution, by Austin Shapiro and his students at Proof School, SF
- (Lab 3.9 itself has now been corrected. The above only applies if you used its original version.)
- Section 4: Polyominoes
- Extension of Lab 4.7 (Minimum Covers), on my blog.
- A book of Polyomino Lessons (Some overlap with this section.)
- More on polyforms: Geometric Puzzles in the Classroom
- Geometric Puzzles Home Page
- Section 5: Symmetry
- Slight edit of Lab 5.6, an attempt to make the table headings easier to understand.
- Online applet to support Lab 5.6: Symmetry with Pattern Blocks
- Some Lab 5.6 photos for discussion.
- Extension of Lab 5.6: Cover the Big Dodecagon with pattern blocks, + connections.
- Symmetry Home Page
- Section 6: Triangles and Quadrilaterals
- Lab 6.1: Use patty paper! Have students share the work and report what they discover.
- John Golden's GeoGebra version of Lab 6.4: Making Quadrilaterals from Triangles
- Section 7: Tiling
- Tiling Home Page
- Section 8: Perimeter and Area
- Connection to Lab 8.4 or 8.6: Heilbronn's Triangle
- Extension to Lab 8.5: Inscribing Geoboard Squares in Polyominoes
- Extension to Lab 8.6: Proof of Pick's Formula
- Section 9: Distance and Square Root
- Revision and extension of Labs 9.1 and 9.6: Taxicab Geometry
- Preview or review of Lab 9.2: Pythagorean Theorem home page
- Desmos version of Labs 9.3 and 9.4, by Liz Caffrey
- Extension to Lab 9.4: Ariadne's String
- Section 10: Similarity and Scaling
- Extension to Lab 10.2, #4: Include "tilted" rectangles in your search.
- Connection to Lab 10.2, #5: No Three on a Line
- Different version of Lab 10.4: Rep-Tiles, including an extension.
- Extension to Section 10: Shrinky Dinks, by Rachel Chou (requires cm grid paper)
- Section 11: Angles and Ratios
- Trig intro: I now do 11.2 with the 10-cm circle before 11.1, and 11.5 before 11.4.
- Connection and slides for Lab 11.8: π for circles, π for polygons?
- Notes, Special Papers, and Answers
- 10cm Circle (PDF), to work on Chapter 11 on paper.
- 10cm Circle in Cabri, and Sketchpad. (The latter contributed by Roger Gemberling.)