# Having SOMA Fun with Math!

I live in a home of math nerds. As such we like to spend time doing puzzles and math games. I came across some soma cubes that I used with my students and thought it would be fun to do it with my family! Soma cubes are a puzzle consisting of 7 different shaped pieces that when placed together in the correct way make a cube. And there is not just one right way of completing the puzzle- there are over 200 different ways these pieces fit together to make a cube! Isn’t that crazy?!?
I had some old direction cards that allowed you to use the 7 pieces to create different shapes. (not shown because I already threw them away) These cards were worn out- and well, I’ll just say it- they weren’t cute. Some of you might understand the effect cuteness has on learning even if it’s only to bring the teacher joy haha. I got to work making new, updated cards using Open Office (shout out to free software!) and am so pleased with how they turned out!

You can easily make your own Soma pieces by gluing little cubes found at the craft store together and then painting them (or you could leave them the natural wood color). OR you can take the easy route and buy them.

I made two sets of cards- a black and white set that is more challenging, and a colored set that went with the blocks we purchased. The colored set makes solving the puzzles way easier, since you can see where each block is placed. Side note: the colored cards match the blocks I painted.

Soma cubes are a great activity for kids to do when they are finished with their work! They are fun and with both the black/white and colored sets of cards you can easily differentiate this for a center. To ensure accountability, you could have students take a pic of their finished puzzle with a class iPad or tablet. And then post on your class blog for parents to admire! 🙂

And as always- happy TEACHing!

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# Geometry: A Common Core Math Series

I can’t even believe it- we are on our final math post!! We have learned about Counting & Cardinality, Operations & Algebraic Thinking, Numbers & Operations in Base 10, Numbers & Operations with Fractions, and Measurement & Data. While I haven’t focused on one particular grade, I have tried to list a multitude of resources to help students learn these basic concepts with an emphasis on the younger grades. I should also add that I didn’t focus any of my posts on 6th grade- they have a whole list of different standards!

What is geometry? The simplest definition of geometry is the study of shapes, points, and lines. Younger grades will focus on learning attributes of plane (also known as flat or 2D) shapes and solid (also known as 3D) shapes. Students should also be able to partition these shapes into equal into equal areas. Older grades will be required to learn about plotting points on a graph as well as drawing and understanding line and angle attributes.

When should I start teaching my child geometry? This is another standard that can be almost be taught in infancy! So many of the children’s books made for wee ones are about shapes. We see a lot of sorting and stacking shape toys, toddler television shows focus on learning shapes- and it is one of those concepts being taught in preschools around the world. Remember to start simple with basic shapes. Also say phrases like “our kite is shaped like a rhombus” “your ball is a sphere” and “do you want ice cubes in your water”. Using the correct terminology will build that geometry foundation that will help them in elementary school and beyond.

What resources are available to help my child learn geometry? Of course you are the best resource. Pointing out shapes in your environment and using the correct terminology is priceless. There are lot more resources available as well… here are a few of the apps, books, and ideas I have found.

Here are some great apps for the android users: Geometry 4 Kids, Geometry Quest, Geometry Pad, Kids Happy Shapes, and Shapes for Kids.

In the iTunes store you will find geometry apps like CyberChase Shape Quest, Geometric Cabinet – A Montessori Sensorial Exercise (one of my personal favorites), Montessori Geometry (another good one), Geometry for Kindergarten, and Symmetry School.

Here is a list of some good geometry literature. Just click on the image to learn more about each of these titles!

and teacher resources:

Here are some of our previous posts on geometry:

Our Learning About Circles post has several different resources to help teach your kiddo about… you guessed it, circles!

Toddler Twister is a fun game we played… check out the link for directions.

When my daughter was almost two we started Tot School– one of the activities we did was playing with an Elmo Shape Toy.

This post was on Humpty Dumpty– we made a craft using shapes!

One of the learning tray activities we did when my Boo was a toddler was playing with tangrams. This is a manipulative that is fun for all ages!

If your child is just learning to use scissors, encourage them to cut shapes. This may be difficult at first so you might want to draw lines, or just free cut shapes and see what they come up with!

In our Sidewalk Chalk post I shared the idea of using chalk to draw shapes (circle, triangle, hexagon, and if you are an artist try the 3 dimensional shapes such as cube, pyramid, etc!) on the driveway. Once the shapes are drawn, dance around until you call out a shape then everyone has to hurry and find one to stand on.

In our DIY Light box post I shared some ways to incorporate geometry. We used transparent shapes during free play, made shapes on an overhead projector geoboard, and used a transparent symmetry mirror.

Here are more ideas for teaching geometry from around the web.

Crayon Box Chronicles shares a great tutorial on making your own geoboard. She has a lot of great photos in her post- make sure to check it out!

Kids Creative Chaos shares a tangram project that you can make with either Santa or a St Patricks Day Leprechaun. So fun!

Naturally Educational had a super fun and educational Mathematics Beach Party with her kids. Not only does she incorporate geometry in this post, but measuring, skip counting and even some science skills!

I love this Geometry for Kids: Finding Shapes at the Playground post from Buggy and Buddy. I am in love with the fact that her kids had fun at the park and made a fun photo book of their learning and that she has a free printable! I am totally pinning this activity and saving it for a nice summer day.

Well- this is it! I hope you have had fun learning about math standards and the resources that are available to help us teach them to our kiddos. Even if you aren’t home schooling (which I’m not) you are still your child’s best teacher and taking advantage of learning opportunities will definitely give your child an advantage at school. And besides- learning can be fun!

Happy Teaching!