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Grade: Middle
Subject: Mathematics

#686. Geometry and Gumby

Mathematics, level: Middle
Posted Tue Nov 3 18:58:10 PST 1998 by Gisele Glosser (
Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies
Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies, Ossining, US
Materials Required: shoebox, chalkboard
Activity Time: 40 minutes
Concepts Taught: side length, angles, geometry

(Preparation: Cut out the bottom of a shoe box, resulting in
a cardboard box that can bend at the corners.)

I introduce the square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus,
trapezoid at the chalkboard, noting the properties of the
sides and the angles.

To summarize the lesson, I hold the shoebox in front of the
class and say: "If you bend a rectangle like Gumby, what
quadrilateral do you get?" (parallelogram). Bending the
shoe box demonstrates the change in angles, and the fact
the length of the sides have not changed. I then ask: "If
you bend a square like Gumby, what quadrilateral do you get?"

The whole thing sounds silly -and that is exactly why my
students remember it so well!