Math teacher Eric Nguyen had a simple task for his Class IV geometry students: balance a small, cardboard triangle on the tip of a pencil eraser. Students jumped at the challenge and, through trial and error, discovered the trick—find the balance point, or centroid, of the triangle. One by one, each student smiled with found success. Class discussion then included other methods for finding that necessary pinpoint—namely, geometry. Students were actively engaged and posed thoughtful questions based on their hands-on involvement.
The activity allowed students to grasp the concepts for themselves before turning to the text book. Nguyen tries to incorporate these types of visual learning experiences about once a week, often using tangram puzzles to help students build spatial awareness. “Arranging the shapes helps them read geometric figures and diagrams,” he says. “And there’s such a value in having kids discover for themselves. It leads to great questions, which then leads to great classroom discussion and learning.”
There are myriad ways to engage students’ varying learning styles and Nobles teachers utilize many resources in classroom instruction. Whether it’s through the latest emerging technology or something as simple as a cardboard cutout and an ordinary pencil eraser, the goal is to get students excited to learn.