Polygon Scavenger Hunt: Student Edition

Today for math we spent the first twenty minutes review the different types of polygons. We spent some extra time distinguishing between types of triangles (isosceles, scalene and equilateral), quadrilaterals (trapezoids, parallelograms, rhombuses and squares) and also reviewing angle size and side length.

After some good review time and identifying shapes on the Promethean Board, I set up the activity that would take up the next twenty minutes of class. I said they got to go on a scavenger hunt around the building. Their task was to find as many polygons in the school as they could and provide reasons why those shapes were indeed what they said they were.

We have building-wide hallway expectations, so I reminded the kids about that which encompassed respectful behavior and voice level. I also had one HUGE rule. If there were students in a room, they could not enter it. If the room was student-free, they needed permission from the adult in there. And lastly, if no one was in the room, it needed to stay that way and they had to move on.

They'd be equipped with their notebooks and their teams of five. I told them they didn't need pencils. That was kind of fun, to see their reaction.

We'd use FlipVideo cameras to document their findings. Then I whipped out my example video from yesterday, and showed it to them. I pointed out the things I was looking for in a good explanation during my video example. We talked for a very short time about what was good about the example and what could be improved. Short as in 55 seconds short.

Then we split into teams, kickball style and went off. I stood at one of the hallway intersections of my school so that I could monitor teams wandering around. Then I started to think about some things...

Things I Didn't Consider

- How was I going to make sure they all came back in twenty minutes? Some teams I didn't even see in the hall where I was standing.
- Some kids will have poor videographing skills. I hope they don't stand too far, or zoom in too close.
- Super quiet ones who don't speak loud enough for the camera to hear.
- Should I have given a list? Like at least one of the following polygons: rhombus, square, parallelogram, octagon, etc.

And with five minutes left, I signaled (to the teams that I did see) to make their way back to class.

When it was all over, they turned in their cameras and I told them we'd review all the clips tomorrow and we talked about what went well and what didn't.

Things That Went Well

- Using the FlipVideo cameras was fun
- Taking turns speaking and recording
- Working quietly in the hallways
- Coming back to class on time

Things That Could Be Improved

- Not enough time
- Wanted more turns recording

Overall, I think it was a good first time lesson. I asked the students what did they need to know in order to do this game.

"We needed to know the different ways we name polygons and what makes it that way. Like how a regular quadrilateral is a square because all of its sides are equal and so are the angles."

Here's the video montage of all the clips from the kids that I'm going to show today. There was one clip where the person completely named a shape wrong. It was obvious enough that I know most of the class would pick up on it, so I didn't include it in the collection. I don't know if this is good or not, but I'm going to talk the person about the segment they recorded - maybe rerecord it with them today and then throw it in for a version 2.0 or something. I still really haven't figured that one out yet.

I'd like to incorporate more FlipVideo activities because I saw that all the kids were intensely engaged and were applying mathematical vocabulary (sometimes not as accurately as I'd hoped) to these tasks.

If you have an idea to make this better or a question about something I most likely skipped over and didn't explain, leave a comment.