The Herald of Everett, Washington
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

This is a geoboard. It only costs about six dollars and is one of the most wonderful learning tools ever. You can use geoboards to teach counting, multiplication, division, geometry, fractions and a whole bunch of other things too.

But when it comes to using geoboards in the classroom, they present a major problem. Managing a bunch of boys with ready access to rubber bands is tough, even for an accomplished teacher. That's why using geoboards at home with your child in a one-on-one setting is ideal.

Why are geoboards so awesome? Take a look a look at this picture of a square and triangle. By looking and counting I can tell that the area of this square equals 16 square inches. This also reinforces the multiplication fact 4 X 4 = 16.

But what about the area of the triangle? Well, I can see with my eyes that the triangle is cutting the square in half. I know that half of 16 is 8. So that means that the area of this triangle is 8 square inches.

You might remember from school that the formula for figuring out the area of a triangle is 1/2 bh. In this case, that would be ˝(4 x 4) = 8.

But which makes more sense to you; looking at the geoboard and “knowing” that the triangle is equal to half of the square, or cranking through some formula?

Eventually, we want all students to master formulas. You can give your child a head start by teaching them geometry in a way that makes sense. I have a slew of geoboard lessons on Teaching My Baby to Read that can get you started.

I purchased my geoboard online, but you can also buy them at Children's Bookshop & Teaching Supplies in Lynnwood. Another option is to make your own geoboard, using very simple materials.

Have fun with those rubber bands!

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