Ever wondered what you can do with old and used bamboo sticks?
Well, have a fun art and craft activity with your children by giving these bamboo sticks a repurposed look! You may paint them or decorate them with leftover coloured paper! The options are endless! To make it engaging, safe and human sized for your children, you may choose to resize the bamboo sticks to an approximate 80cm.
There are many mathematical concepts that you can carry out at home with your children using these repurposed bamboo sticks to make the learning of math fun! In this article, I shall share with you some activities on the topic of angles.
But before that, you’ll be surprised to know that Geometry is an essential component of mathematics education that students actually find difficult to understand (Van Hiele, 1986), and that the angle is one of the oldest and fundamental concepts in which students lack knowledge and misconceptions (Ozen Unal, D. & Urun, O., 2021). Of basic geometry concepts, it is identified as one of the most abstract and the most challenging concepts for students (Tanguay & Venant, 2016). Hence, it is ever more important to help our dyslexic learners to understand the fundamental concepts of angles through the relation of real-life objects and quantities.
The angle concept can be rather intriguing as it is evident in several different contexts. For example, angles are used to describe the shape of the corner of a geometrical figure. This concept can be considered to be the easiest for our students to identify in a physical situation based on the identification of the 2 lines that form the angle. Such angles can be spotted in everyday items such as the hands of an analogue clock, corners of papers, blades on a pair of scissors etc. Secondly, we have another type of angle where one line is visible while the other has to be imagined. This can be found in real-life scenarios where angles are formed based on the opening of a door; when there is no concrete line on the floor to illustrate the closed position of the door, children playing on a see-saw or the inclination of a slope. The most challenging type of angle for most students to identify would be the one where neither side of the angle is visible. Some common situations would include the turning of a door knob and the turning of a steering wheel.
To introduce your children to the world of angles, let’s bring along our repurposed bamboo sticks and set out around your house to find different types of angles in our surroundings!
Activity 1: I spy angles around us!
A little demonstration goes a long way in helping your children to understand the concept of an angle. Show them that an angle is formed when two lines meet at a point. Use the repurposed sticks to emphasize both lines and how they meet at a point. Here are some examples:
You may even want to include technology in this activity by getting your children to snap pictures of the angles created by the repurposed sticks concurrently. The collection of these pictures can be used in a later activity to classify the types of angles accordingly.
Activity 2: Understanding types of Angles (Right angles)
If you have any used post-its lying around in the house, don’t throw them away just yet! They make good materials to be utilized in this next activity on introducing the concept of right angles!
Using our repurposed sticks, get your child to form a square.
After which, get them to place 4 post-its snugly into the 4 corners of the square.
Show them that these post-its make up what we call a “right angle”.
When two straight lines are perpendicular at an intersection, we create a 90 degree angle, otherwise known as a right angle.
With this, you may continue on the scavenger hunt to search for more right angles around the house with the help of the repurposed sticks and post-its.
An example of using repurposed sticks and post-its to illustrate right angles.
Activity 3: Understanding types of Angles (Acute angles)
Next, let’s move on to introduce the concept of acute angles. Notice that there is the word ‘cute’ in acute angles? To help with the remembering of the different types of angles, I would often link the idea of ‘cute’ to small and cute things like plushies and keychains. As they are cute and small in size, acute angles are otherwise known as angles that are smaller than right angles, less than 90 degrees.
Using the repurposed sticks and the post-it as a guide, compare and show that the amount of space between the two sticks that forms the acute angle is less than the right angle. Essentially, do remember to emphasize that the size of an acute angle can be anywhere from 1° to 89°, as long as it is lesser than 90°
To help firm up the understanding of acute angles, continue to search for more acute angles around the house with the help of the repurpose sticks and post-its! Here are some examples of items with acute angles that can be found within the household.
Activity 4: Understanding types of Angles (Obtuse angles)
Finally, let us take a look at obtuse angles!
Now obtuse angles are larger than right angles but are smaller than a straight line. Using the repurposed sticks and post-its, do compare and show the difference of space between a right angle and an obtuse angle and how the obtuse angle is larger than a right angle. Do take note to emphasize that the size of obtuse angles can be anywhere between 90 degrees and 180 degrees by illustrating the motion of the sticks.
In order to work on the understanding of obtuse angles, do continue to search for more obtuse angles around the house with the help of the repurpose sticks and post-its! Here are some examples of items with obtuse angles that can be found within the household.
Activity 5: Cool down with angles
After a long scavenger hunt at home, do have a summary activity with your children on the angles that they have learnt!
You may use the collection of photos taken on the scavenger hunt and get your child to classify the pictures according to the types of angles – acute, right, obtuse.
You may also get your child to review the type of angles by forming acute, right and obtuse angles using the repurpose sticks.
Finally, if you have used blank post-its in your activity, your child may reuse them by drawing out the different types of angles learnt today as well as noting down its corresponding properties.
Remember! Learning math can be fun and engaging by using everyday items to help support your child’s learning. I hope these simple activities will not only help to strengthen the math knowledge of angles and confidence in your child but also provide an avenue of bonding time with him or her too!
Till next time, have fun playing with math!
Lead Educational Therapist
Article published on 13 June 2023
Ozen Unal, D., & Urun, O. (2021). Sixth grade students’ some difficulties and misconceptions on Angle Concept. Journal of Qualitative Research in Education. https://doi.org/10.14689/enad.27.7
Tanguay, D., & Venant, F. (2016). The semiotic and conceptual genesis of Angle. ZDM, 48(6), 875–894. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-016-0789-5
Van Hiele, P. M. (1986). Structure and Insight. A Theory of Mathematics Education. London: Academic Press.