Geometry is my favorite math topic. Let’s play a couple of fun math games on the Geoboard before we talk about what a Geoboard is and how you can make one with your kids.
Ready for some fun brain teasers?
Question 1: Can you remove 2 elastic bands to make 2 squares of different sizes?
Question 2: Can you move 2 elastic bands to make 4 squares of the same size?
Ready for the answers?
Answer for question 1:
Answer for question 2:
Did you (or your kids) enjoy the games? Geometry is fun, isn’t it? Those questions are actually exercises from my daughter Sara’s Singapore Math workbook (3rd grade). The book asks you to use toothpicks for the exercises, but you can also use elastic bands on a Geoboard. But a Geoboard can do more than that; let’s find out what it is and what it can do.
What is a Geoboard?
A Geoboard is a mathematic tool used to teach or learn two dimensional geometry, including the perimeter and area of triangles and other polygons.
It is often constructed with a piece of square wood and a certain number of nails hammered in to a uniformed depth. The smallest one you can make will have 9 nails (3×3), and a bigger one like mine has 100 nails (10×10). It can also have 16 nails (4×4) or 25 nails (5×5)… you get the idea! Of course the bigger the board, the more shapes you can make at one time.
You can certainly buy a Geoboard online, but wouldn’t it be even better to make one with your kids? Of course, only attempt this if your kids are old enough to follow instructions, and careful enough to use a hammer without injuring themselves.
Let’s nail it!
How to make a Geoboard?
Materials: a piece of wood (10″x10″); a small piece of wood (3/4″ height); 100 nails (1″ long)
Tools: Pencil; ruler; hammer; and safety goggles
- Cut or buy a piece of wood which is 10″x10″ to form the base of the Geoboard. Remember to sand all surfaces and round the edges and corners so the Geoboard is smooth and child-friendly!
- Draw 10 dots on the left side of the board and 10 dots on the right side of the board. The dots should be 1″ apart. Then have your kid connect the dots from side to side to form 10 horizontal lines.
- Draw another 10 dots on the top of the board and 10 dots on the bottom of the board. The dots should also be 1″ apart. Then have your kid connect the dots from top to bottom to form 10 vertical lines.
- You should have a 9×9 grid now. That means there should be 100 spots for nails (the intersections of vertical lines and horizontal lines).
- If you are going to let your kids hammer the nails onto the board, make sure they wear eye protection.
- Hammer one nail on each spot, using the small piece of wood (3/4″ height) as a guide so that the nails are all driven to the same depth. The finished nails on the board should all roughly be at the same height (3/4″).
- After you (or your kid) finish hammering 100 nails onto the board, your Geoboard is ready for many years of fun!
What can you do with a Geoboard?
- For the very little ones (preschoolers), a Geoboard can help develop their fine motor skills just by looping the elastic bands over the nails.
- You can use different color elastic bands, which develops color recognition.
- Kids can also learn and make different shapes on the Geoboard.
- Kids can even learn letters and numbers on the Geoboard!
- If you use different sizes of elastic bands, kids can learn the concept of size.
- As the kids get older, a Geoboard can aid in the learning of perimeter, area, and angles of different shapes.
- You can also use the Geoboard to teach symmetry. Have your kids mirror the color and length of the elastic to create a symmetrical object.
- A Geoboard can also foster creativity and imagination. Have your kids make something — anything they like on the Geoboard! They will certainly have a good time with it. Here are some of my daughter’s creations:
What is your favorite shape to make on a Geoboard?
What else can you make on a Geoboard?