We love our geoboard, made with a pegboard and 1″ machine bolts and nuts. Grab some rubber bands for some fun with designs and shapes!
A geoboard is, basically, a board with pegs (nails or screws) poking out on which kids can make designs, shapes and angles by stretching rubber bands between 2 or more of the pegs. It is a WONDERFUL tool for having fun creating pictures, and also a great tactile experience for teaching hexagons, pentagons etc. This is another project that does not require kids to learn every angle and the exact names of each shape, although they can learn more that we’d think! The act of stretching out designs stimulates the mathematical parts of a brain.
From Wikipedia: “A geoboard is a mathematical manipulative used to explore basic concepts in plane geometry such as perimeter, area and the characteristics of triangles and other polygons. It consists of a physical board with a certain number of nails half driven in, around which are wrapped rubber bands. Geoboards were invented and popularized in the 1950’s by Egyptian mathematician Caleb Gattegno (1911-1988).”
If I read this description to Captain she would probably just walk away. It isn’t about pushing geometry. It just brings up one of my favorite things about our idea of homeschooling/unschooling: brushing up against stimulating ideas with a tactile experience, and letting the crumbs fall where they may.
There are lots of ideas floating around online, and also educators could direct us more, as to various teaching methods using the geoboard. Our personal favorites are to just have fun making shapes and designs, and also to make a particular shape and name it (square, pentagon etc.) It is also a fun exercise to make a small shape like a square, and then make the exact shape bigger…
Geoboards can be purchased online, and in educational stores, starting at about 4 bucks for a small, plastic square with plastic pegs, and the price goes up from there. Many people recycle a scrap of wood and pound in nails until they are poking out about an inch. We used a pegboard with 1″ machine bolts and nuts. The machine bolts differ from regular bolts in that they have a flat tip, not pointy. When we no longer need the geoboard, we will use the pegboard in the barn for tools and the machine screws for another project. We have found that a bigger size (12×12 or larger) is best because it is sturdier and allows for more creative freedom to make cool designs and shapes. We thought the little plastic geoboards seem too small. We planned to mount ours onto the wall (they are quite appealing on a wall as a little “station”) but Captain has had so much fun with it on a table, or in her lap, that we are leaving it loose about the cabin for now. We have a big jar of rubber bands on hand for activities. It is important to note that rubber bands should only be used by kids who will not swallow them and that can learn to not snap themselves in the eye!
If you have a geoboard, or plan to make one, and have any cool activities to share, we would love to hear about them here on kartwheels.
Good thoughts and happy hexagons,