Build It! Festival
Mathematics Activities for Grades
Written by Philip Gonsalves and Jaine
Weaving mathematics concepts into engaging, hands-on construction
activities, this GEMS festival guide includes a wide assortment
of classroom learning-station activities that emphasize construction,
geometric challenges, and spatial visualization. Introductory
activities, such as Architect/Builder, involve students in free
exploration of materials and lay the foundation for such mathematical
challenges as Create-A-Shape, Dowel Designs, Polyhedra, Symmetry,
Tangrams, and What Comes Next?
The guide provides geometry background for the teacher, and a
list of useful literature connections. Depending on the stations
chosen, required materials might include pattern blocks, polyhedra,
and wooden cubes. Template patterns for folding and constructing
shapes and creating tangrams are provided. Many of the eight main
activities connect strongly to the real world and potential careers.
For extra dynamics, the unit can culminate in a festival for the
This guide is one of many GEMS publications focusing on mathematics.
Others include Frog Math, Math
on the Menu, Math Around the World,
Boxes, and the educators' handbooks The
Rainbow of Mathematics and Science
and Math Explorations for Young Children.
Interested in learning more about GEMS and mathematics instruction? Download our PowerPoint presentation The Rainbow of Math.
Praise for Build It! Festival:
"Teaching geometry to my third graders has always seemed
somewhat dull to me--not to mention how my lack of interest affected
my students! Recently, a colleague let me borrow his Build
It! Festival guide. Thanks to him and your great book, geometry
was a hit in third grade this year. The children had a great time
creating shapes, exploring symmetry, and building with newspaper
dowels. I just can't say enough positive things about this guide.
Thanks so much!" Teacher, Gilbert, IA
Comment on this GEMS unit.
Spanish Language Student Materials
What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.