Activities for the Elementary Classroom
This page describes activities in geometry, number patterns and topology
that have been extensively tested on students in a public elementary school.
- Contents of this page
- Math Lessons
- The Mobius Band (All grade levels)
- The Euler Number of Solids (Grades 5 and up)
- Number Patterns
- Integer sequences (Grades 2 and 3)
- Combinatorics (Grades 3 and 4)
- Pascal's Triangle (Grades 4 and up)
- Generalized Fibonacci Sequences and the Golden Mean (Grades 5 and
- Data Compression (Grades 5 and up) (not yet in)
Building symmetric solids with toothpicks and gumdrops
(All grade levels)
- What's my angle?
- What's my angle? (Grades 1 through 3)
- Making an astrolabe. (Grades 3 and up)
- Adding polygon angles. (Grades 5 and up)
- The Pythagorean theorem. (Grades 5 and up)
These pages describe activities I've developed as part of a math enrichment
program for grades one through six at the West Kearns Elementary School in Utah.
The program is now in its third year,
and has been well received by teachers, students, and parents. The purposes
of the program are to show children that mathematics can be fun, and to help
them build confidence in their mathematical abilities.
These lessons are designed for an entire class, although they could
be adapted for smaller groups. Most lessons take approximately 25 minutes.
All are introductory in that they assume no prior knowledge of the topic
other than what is in the basic curriculum for that grade level.
I have taught these lessons to every class in the elementary school I work
in. The lessons have been equally successful with access and accel students.
Frequently I find students who are not successful academically are able
to solve the problems I present.
Most of my ideas come from books on recreational mathematics,
in particular those by Martin Gardner. I also recommend books by
educator Marilyn Burns.
All of the lesson plans described in these pages are my own.
- Burns, Marilyn. About Teaching Mathematics.
(Math Solutions Publications, 1992)
- Burns, Marilyn. The I Hate Mathematics Book.
- Cohen, Don. Calculus By and For Young People
(Available from MathWare, Urbana, IL)
- Davis, Robert B. Discovery in Mathematics.
(Menlo Park, Addison-Wesley, 1964.)
- Dorrie, Heinrich. 100 Great Problems of Elementary
Mathematics. (New York, Dover Publications, 1965.)
- Fauvel, John, Raymond Flood and Robin Wilson, ed.
Mobius and his Band (Oxford, Oxford University Press,
- Gardner, Martin. Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions.
(New York, Simon and Schuster, 1959)
- Gardner, Martin. Mathematical Magic Show
- Gardner, Martin. Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers
- Gardner, Martin. Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments.
(New York, W.H.Freeman and Company, 1988)
- Huntley, H.E. The Divine Proportion.
(New York, Dover Publications Inc., 1970)
- Jefimenko, Oleg D. How to Entertain with Your Pocket
Calculator. (Star City, Electret Scientific Co., 1975)
- Laycock, Mary. Bucky for Beginners.
(Hayward, Activity Resources Company, 1984)
- Pappas, Theoni. The Magic of Mathematics
- Peter, Rozsa. Playing with Infinity.
(New York, Dover Publications, 1957)
- Poundstone, William. Prisoner's Dilemma
(New York, Doubleday, 1992.)
- Reid, Constance. From Zero to Infinity.
(New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1964)
- Sawyer, W. W. Prelude to Mathematics
(Baltimore, Penguin Books, 1955)
- Tucker, Alan. Applied Combinatorics
(New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1980.)
I'd like to thank Dr. Nancy Sorensen and the teachers and staff of
West Kearns Elementary School for their support in developing and
running this math enrichment program.
If you'd like to send me e-mail, my address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include "math" in the subject.