Build It! Festival

Mathematics Activities for Grades K—6

Written by Philip Gonsalves and Jaine Kopp

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 entire school!

This guide is one of many GEMS publications focusing on mathematics. Others include Frog Math, Math on the Menu, Math Around the World, QUADICE, Treasure 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.

Build It! Festival

Order online

Ordering information

Literature Connections

Spanish Language Student Materials

What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.

ISBN: Grade Level Format Price
0-924886-38-2 Grades K—6 8 Activities,
224 pages

Lawrence Hall of Science    © 2017 UC Regents. All rights reserved.    Contact GEMS    Updated February 06, 2015