GEOMETRY
AND SPATIAL SENSE (Strand C)
Identifying
Geometric Figures (Standard 1)
1. Burns, Marilyn. The Greedy Triangle. New York: Scholastic
Inc., 1994.
A triangle is unhappy with its life and changes into other polygonal
shapes. Problems arise when the shape becomes a circle. Eventually,
the shape returns to a triangle.
 Have students create their
own book to show where given shapes are to be found in the realworld.
2. Crosbie, Michael J. Architecture
Shapes. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1993.
Children are introduced to geometrical shapes through wonderful architectural
pictures and features.
 Use the same ideas as
those mentioned for The Greedy Triangle.
3. Hajdusieicz, Babs Bell.
Shape Up, Curvy Snake. Austin, TX: SteckVaughn Company, 1991.
A snake reassembles itself
into a variety of shapes.
 Have students use a piece
of string of some length and see what different shapes they can create
with this single straight line.
4. Hindley, Judy. The
Wheeling and WhirlingAround Book. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press,
1994.
This book explores all kinds of things that go round, including circles,
disks, spirals, and spheres.
 Have students brainstorm
about objects they use that are round. Have them discuss why certain
objects are probably round and not rectangular. Possibly have students
spin a top and record how long it spins or how far it travels while
spinning. This book also has some interesting science connections
in discussing orbits, pulleys, etc.
5. Hoban, Tana. circles,
triangles, and squares. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.
Photographs of realworld
objects are used to introduce these shapes.
 Have students try to find
as many different objects with these shapes in their classroom or
around the school as possible.
6. Hoban, Tana. Shapes,
Shapes, Shapes. New York: Mulberry Paperbacks, 1986.
Photographs of realworld objects introduce students to a wide variety
of shapes.
 Have students create their
own books with shapes of realworld objects. Such activities provide
a wonderful opportunity to blend mathematics with art.
7. Neuschwander, Cindy. Sir
Cumference and the First Round Table. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge,
1997.
King Arthur searches for a table that will be useful for his knights.
 Have students create different
shapes and explore their properties.
8. Pluckrose, Henry. Math
Counts: Shape. Chicago: Children's Press, 1995.
Shapes are explored through pictures of realworld objects.
 Similar activities as
those above can be done, with students finding examples of a wide
range of shapes in their own world. In essence, have students engage
in a Shape Scavenger Hunt. Reward bonus points for those who find
unusual examples of shapes.
Spatial Relationships
(symmetry, congruency, and similarity) (Standard 2)
9. Blackstone, Stella. Grandma Went to Market: A Roundthe World
Counting Rhyme. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996.
A grandmother uses a flying carpet to travel around the world to buy
fascinating objects.
 Although a counting book,
the pictures have wonderful geometric properties that students can
explore and describe.
10. Ernst, Lisa Campbell.
Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt. New York: Mulberry Books,
1983.
A man organizes a male quilting club when he is not allowed to join
the women's club. The men work to make a quilt to enter the fair.
 Have students design quilt
squares with various properties, such as line symmetry or turn symmetry.
11. Flournoy, Valerie.
The Patchwork Quilt. New York: Dial Books, 1985.
A young girl learns to make a quilt from her grandmother.
 Again, have students create
their own quilts or describe quilts that they see in stores or catalogs.
12. Goble, Paul. Her Seven
Brothers. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1988.
A young girl searches for seven brothers she does not know. Through
a series of adventures, they become the Big Dipper. The story is based
on a Cheyenne legend.
 Have students create Indianstyle
rugs with colored toothpicks. Rugs should meet given conditions, such
as one line of symmetry, two lines of symmetry, etc.
13. Jonas, Ann. Reflections.
New York: Greenwillow Books, 1987.
This book can be read one way and then turned over and read again. The
images are reflections and can be interpreted in different ways.
 Have students create a
picture and its reflection image. Pattern blocks are a great tool
for such an activity. MIRAs are also good to use.
14. Maccarone, Grace. Three
Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes. New York: Scholastic, Inc.,
1997.
A pig makes a lot of different shapes using a set of tangrams.
 Have students explore
making shapes with a set of tangram pieces. In addition to work with
geometry, incorporate number work by assigning a value to one piece.
Then determine the appropriate values of other pieces.
15. McDermott, Gerald. Anansi
the Spider: a tale from the Ashanti. New York: Henry Holt and Company,
1972.
Three sons set off to help their father.
 Have students study the
pictures in the story and describe the geometric features. Students
can also create and illustrate their story with a wide variety of
geometric shapes and properties.
16. Paul, Ann Whitford. Eight
Hands Round: A Patchwork Alphabet. New York: HarperCollins Publishers,
1991.
Each letter of the alphabet is related to a quilt pattern. A brief story
of that quilt pattern is included. Many of the stories relate to issues
from earlier times in the history of the country, so the book is
a great source for blending mathematics and social studies.
 Have students create quilt
squares with various properties – such as one line of symmetry,
or turn symmetry, etc.
17. Tompert, Ann. Grandfather
Tang's Story: A Tale told with Tangrams. New York: Crown Publishers,
Inc., 1990.
In this Chinese tale, two foxes chase each other as they continually
change shapes. Each of the shapes can be made with all seven pieces
of the tangram puzzle. Tragedy almost strikes at the end as one of the
animals is shot by a hunter.
 Again, have students create
shapes with a set of tangrams. They can explore the value of a shape
if a given tangram piece has a specified value. Transformations (size
changes, scale changes, and tessellations) (Standard 2)
18. a. Beneduce, Ann Keay.
Gulliver's Adventures in Lilliput. New York: Putnam & Grosset,
1996.
b. Hodges, Margaret. Gulliver in Lilliput. New York: Holiday House,
1995.
Gulliver lands in Lilliput, where all
the people are only six inches tall.
 Students can explore proportional
reasoning. Twice around the thumb should be the length around the
wrist; twice around the wrist is the neck; twice around the neck is
the waist – do these relationships hold true for the students
in the class?
19. Briggs, Raymond. Jim
and the Beanstalk. New York: Putnam & Grosset, 1970.
Jim climbs a beanstalk and meets a giant, helping him find glasses,
dentures, and a wig.
 Have students compare
common objects such as combs and toothbrushes to their height. Use
those values to determine the length of a giant’s comb or toothbrush.
20. Friedman, Aileen. A Cloak for the Dreamer. New York: Scholastic,
Inc., 1994.
The young son of a tailor wants to travel the world rather than work
in his father's shop. When he makes a cloak, there is a major problem
with it. But, his father modifies the cloak and makes his son's
dream come true.
 Have students create their
own tessellation. Which regular polygons tessellate? Why?
21. Suyeoka, George, Robert
B. Goodman, and Robert A. Spicer. Issunboshi. Aiea, HI: Island
Heritage Publishing, 1974.
A oneinch boy protects a princess and wins her heart and hand.
 Again, have students determine
the size of objects for the 1 inch boy.
Properties and Formulas
(including area, perimeter, volume) (Standard 3)
22. Clement, Rod. Counting on Frank. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens
Publishing, 1991.
The boy studies sizes and all types of facts. For instance, he determines
how many of his dog would fit in a room, how long it would take to fill
a bathtub, or how tall he would be if he grew at a given rate.
 Have students determine
the measurements of their classroom. How many students, books, televisions,
etc. would fit in the room?
23. Grifalconi, Ann. The
Village of Round and Square Houses. Boston: Little, Brown and Company,
1986.
In the African village of Tos, the men live in square houses and the
women live in round houses. The story explains how this practice came
to be.
 Have students investigate
the areas of figures with a given perimeter or the perimeters of figures
with a given area.
24. Lasky, Kathryn. The
Librarian Who Measured the Earth. Boston: Little, Brown and Company,
1994.
This is the story of Eratosthenes and how he measured the circumference
of the Earth.
 Have students explore
ways that the circumference of the earth is measured today.
25. Neuschwander, Cindy.
Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge,
1997.
A riddle dealing with the ratio of circumference to diameter must be
solved to save the life of Sir Cumference.
 Have students find the
circumference and diameter of a large number of circles and compute
the ratio. Look for patterns. Miscellaneous
26. Brown, Jeff. Flat
Stanley. New York: HarperTrophy, 1964.
When a young boy is flattened, he uses his new properties to investigate
many problems, including the solution to a crime.
 Have students discuss
the similarities and differences between common 2D and 3D objects,
such as squares and cubes, circles and spheres, and so forth.
©2001
Denisse R. Thompson
