This post contains affiliate links. This post is sponsored by MERGE VR.
Whoever said mathematics is not a hands-on subject never studied geometry. It is apparent even from a young age. Thing about it. One of the first toys children receive is blocks. Then, they might get toys shaped like pyramids, cylinders, and spheres. These toys are teaching geometry.
Children manipulate these geometric toys and discover things like some stack better together than others, each shape has a different number of faces, or that putting two or more shapes together makes a new shape. These are all important concepts for children to understand.
When it comes to formal education, geometry tends to get stuck in the textbooks with the rest of mathematics – even in homeschool geometry. Shapes are printed on flat paper, and students are taught to name basic two dimensional shapes and their parts. They are taught angles, vertices, lines, points, and intersections. Students get very good at memorizing geometry terms and definitions.
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At some point, the study of geometry moves from 2D to 3D. This new dimension brings geometry into the real world. The problem is that it is still taught mainly from a flat piece of paper. Even though 3D drawings are used. 3D shapes can still be hard to comprehend.
This is where using geometric shape blocks can come in handy. Students can touch and manipulate each shape so that they can look at that shape from every angle. This helps with geometric understanding. It makes the mathematics concepts easier to grasp and truly learn.
What if we could take the hands-on concept a bit further?
What if we could not only manipulate shapes, but actually connect points and draw lines within solid shapes to further understand geometry concepts?
Hands-On Homeschool Geometry
I am a very visual and hands-on learner. I need to see something and often get my hands on it to understand it. My daughter is the same way, so when she could do the mathematical formulas of geometry, but didn’t fully comprehend where to apply them or how they related to actual shapes, I understood completely. I wanted to find a way to make homeschool geometry come alive for her.
As a homeschool parent, I am always looking for hands-on, outside of the textbook ways to help my children understand subjects better. Geometry was sometimes a difficult one for me to find the right hands-on resources. Sure, we used blocks and shapes and real life examples when we could, but those solid shapes could only show us so much.
There was something missing when we tried to find a way to demonstrate in our homeschool geometry centroids, triangles within pyramids with different shaped bases, or the area of a cross-section of a pentagonal prism. I often thought that I needed clear geometric shapes that were hollow, so I could use string to connect points to allow us to see these things.
Well, I never found anything like that, but I did find something better.
Virtual Reality Geometry
It turns out that learning homeschool geometry through virtual reality and augmented reality is a thing. Not a far off expensive thing either. We used our MERGE Cube (which cost under $20) and Shapes 3D Geometry Drawing app (less than $5) on our cell phones to not only see, but hold all kinds of geometric shapes in our hands. Totally accessible to homeschool families!
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This amazing resource allowed us not only to turn the shapes and look at them from all sides, but to connect points within the shapes. This allowed us to see first hand the concepts we learned in our homeschool geometry curriculum, such as:
Finding a right triangle within a prism
Creating a pyramid inside a pyramid
The MERGE Cube and Shapes app are tools I wish we had on our first go through geometry. However, it has served us well in our review. In our experience, here are the benefits of learning geometry through virtual reality:
Shapes be seen and handled in 3D
Allows hands-on practice of geometry terms
Fosters deeper understanding of geometrical relationships
- Great way for students to improve their spatial reasoning
Shape 3D Geometry Drawing App Activities
The Shapes 3D Geometry Drawing app is a great way to learn geometry and review concepts and have fun doing it. My daughter may be retaking the ACT soon, so I thought a little geometry refresher was in order. I wrote down the following things I wanted her to find or prove using the Shapes 3D Geometry Drawing app and the MERGE cube. Feel free to use it with your kids.
- Create 2 cross-sections of a hexagonal prism. One parallel to its base and the other not parallel.
- Draw lines inside an octahedron to find its center.
- Create a right triangle inside a pyramid.
- Create a right triangle on the faces of two different shapes.
- Draw a triangle inside a cylinder.
- Create a pyramid inside a square.
- Create a pyramid inside a pyramid.
- Draw two diagonal lines inside a parallelogram prism that bisect each other.
- Draw a star inside a pentagonal prism.
- Draw three lines on one face of a triangular pyramid that all bisect each other.
- Discover how many edges a triangular prism has?
- Find 2 shapes where Euler’s Formula (Faces + Vertices − Edges = 2) is true and fill in the formula.
- What is something cool that you discovered you can do within a shape?
What geometry curriculum did we use for high school?? CLICK HERE