Students benefit from hands-on tasks exploring number, area, and fractional relationships when the value of a whole changes. This activity uses pattern blocks to explore different designs with different constraints (e.g., a target value, a set number of blocks, or a final shape) while changing the value of the whole. For example, if the trapezoid is worth 1 1/2, create different sizes of triangles and find their value.

Contributor Notes

Molly Rawding,, is a mathematics specialist/coach at Fiske Elementary School in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is interested in how teachers and students think about and do math in visual, creative, fun ways.

Jean Kelly,, is a mathematics specialist/coach at Bridge Elementary School in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is interested in building students' understandings of concepts through visuals and puzzles, as well as working with new teachers to foster the joy of learning and teaching math.

Edited by Theodore Chao,, an assistant professor of mathematics education at The Ohio State University in Columbus

Imani Goffney,, who conducts research at the University of Maryland– College Park, where she is an assistant professor in mathematics education and teaches courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

(Corresponding author is Rawding author is Kelly author is Chao author is Goffney
Teaching Children Mathematics


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 8 8 1
Full Text Views 12 12 3
PDF Downloads 15 15 6
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0