Picture this: It’s the 1950s. School children have been practicing for air raids. Students have never heard of the internet or video games. In fact, their TV set only gets a few channels, and there are no remotes. Technology hasn’t yet become the driving force it has today. Enter geoboards: the exciting new classroom tool and manipulative.
Geoboards are a fun and educational introduction to the classroom that everyone loves. These boards, made out of plastic or wood with an even array of pegs protruding from the top, are all the rage. Simply by using rubber bands or string, you can create fun geometrical patterns in the classroom.
What are geoboards good for?
Not only are geoboards fun, but they can be used for all sorts of academic purposes. Geoboards are extremely useful in math. They can help focus on geometry with patterns, area, perimeter, and fractions. Geoboards can also be used while learning about letters, maps, constellations, designing and constructing marble mazes, and creating art. Looking to purchase a set of geoboards? Try out this classroom set of geoboards available on Amazon.
Geoboards in Math
With a name like geoboards and understanding what they are, our teacher minds immediately jump to the idea that we can use these teaching supplements for geometry. Yes, I would hazard a guess that most of us use these math manipulatives for geometry purposes.
Students can learn about and create varying patterns by using shapes and colorful strings or rubber bands. In addition to patterns, creating shapes can be fun. Students can be directed to create particular shapes or explore on their own to see which shapes they can create.
For more advanced learners, geoboards can be used to demonstrate the concepts of area and perimeter through the shapes created on the geoboards. Again, students can create shapes based on your instruction or branch out independently. Geoboards are excellent practice once the concept of area and perimeter are taught.
Fractions. For some reason, everyone always hides from fractions, teachers and students alike. With a geoboard, though, fractions can be fun and easy. Simply by creating a large square the size of the geoboard and connecting opposite pegs, perfect fractions can be created. Students can also be encouraged to create and identify their own fractions using different denominators. Fractions are much more fun and easier to understand with these hands-on math manipulatives!
Geoboards and the ABCs
There are two great ways I know to practice the alphabet with geoboards. The first is to have students create letters with the geoboards, so they get practice forming letters. The second is to paste upper and lower case of the same letters on the geoboards for students to connect. They will have fun getting to use their hands in some active learning of the alphabet, how to form letters, and match upper and lower case partners.
Maps and Geoboards
Geoboards can be used to create maps of different places. You will be able to provide a photo for your students to map out your city, state, country, or even the whole world. Better yet, have students work together to put their geoboards together and create a large map as a class project. Another way to create maps with geoboards is to have students map out constellations of stars in the night sky. Constellations are easy to map with geoboards as each peg on the geoboard can represent a star.
Let’s face it. Marble mazes are fun. We like to watch the marbles go through the maze and it is even more fun when we get to construct one ourselves. With geoboards, there are many options for creating fun marble mazes. Once a maze has been created, allow students to test it out and see how well their maze works. Make it a competition! See who can create the best, most complicated, or fastest maze for marbles in your class.
Art & Design with Geoboards
This is my favorite thing to do with geoboards. Even as an adult, I find it relaxing and entertaining to create designs on a geoboard. I’m more of a patterns and geometric shapes girl, but some find creating animals, faces, buildings, and nature on a geoboard quite fun and relaxing. Geoboards are an excellent release for those creative juices or simply destress and unwind.
Do you need geoboards in your classroom?
Short answer? Yes. Geoboards provide much practice for lots of academic material. The most obvious use for geoboards is in math class. They are great for practicing patterns, shapes, area, perimeter, and fractions. Geoboards are also an excellent tool for practicing the forming of letters of the alphabet or matching upper and lower case partners. There is always fun to be had in creating maps of the world or constellations. Geoboards can also be used for marble mazes, art, and design. They are an all-around wonderful academic manipulative for your classroom.
If you are looking for more great activities for your geoboards, I have a resource for you to try. I have monthly geoboards resources for use in your geometry lessons available as well as a bundle of the full Year of Geometry with Geoboards! Each month has cards with patterns and activities you can print off for math centers, early finishers, or just for fun. Who knew something introduced to classrooms in the 1950s would still be fun and relevant today?!? Have you found a new use for your geoboards today, or perhaps I missed one? Let me know!