I came across several homemade Geoboard ideas recently, and they reminded me the wonderful free app Geoboard, which we used recently to play some math games about geometry. It is an app from The Math Learning Center, it is available for iPhone, iPad, Windows tablets, and an app on the internet too, which means you can use the app on your computer with internet access.
The app is very simple to use. There are two boards: one with 25 pegs, one with 150 pegs. The larger board is not available on iPhone. There are 8 band colors (5 colors on iPhone) to choose from. To use it, kids simply pick a band from the bottom and stretch it over two pegs. To make shapes, kids can pick more bands to add to the board. It is just like the real geoboard, but with no worries of missing rubber bands.
There are so many different ways to use the geoboard app.
1. Learn colors and counting:
For young kids, you can use it to learn about colors and numbers. Ask them to “make a green line”, or “make a yellow line”. You can also ask them to make a second line that is twice as long as the first one, or you can make a long line and ask them count the units the line covers.
2. Learn basic shapes:
Make different shapes of different sizes with kids, and teach them the name and attributes of the shapes.
3. Learn the concept of areas:
Make a square and then another one double the length of each side, asking them to observe the areas covered by the bigger square vs. the smaller square. Is it double, triple, or four times of the smaller square? With the pegs outlining the area, it is very easy for the kids to see the area each shape covers, so it is a great visual tool to get intuitive understanding of area vs. line.
One of the math game we played recently is to guess which triangle is bigger. I made several triangles, some are the same base and height, some are different height but the same base, some are different base but the same height, then I ask my son to put them in order of the areas they cover. We did this because he is learning triangle area at school and had some doubts about the formula. The visuals on the geoboard brought the ah-ha moment of full understanding. We had fun.
4. Create pictures to encourage creativity:
Ask kids to create a picture using the bands. Challenge them make a house, an apple, a dog, a ship. To connect art with math, after they create their art, you can ask them count how many bands they use, the area the picture covers. Or do what I always like to do, ask them to tell a story based on their art.
5. Now it is your turn. How would you use it with your kids?
Geoboard is a free app. It is available for iPhone, iPod and iPad. It is also available on Windows devices and on internet via computer. To use it on your computer, visit Geoboard web app page.
Looking for more great free math apps for kids? Check out 10 Free Math Apps for Elementary School Kids.
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