Do you ever have those days or even weeks when you feel like you’re just going through the motions? You’re still doing your job, but that zip and excitement was missing. Whenever I feel that way, I know that it’s time for something new. I 100% believe that there is no point in reinventing the wheel year after year. I find what works and use and reuse those lessons. I make tweaks, modifications, and additions as needed, but I don’t teach all new lessons every year. But when I feel restless and even bored (even though I’m always bust), I know it’s time to change things up a bit. That’s why this year I decided to add a Christmas Geometry Project into my December routine.
It begins with a letter from Santa Claus. He needs help drawing pictures of the buildings in Christmas Village in the North Pole. The catch is that all of the buildings are geometric figures (quadrilateral, parallelogram, square, rectangle, rhombus, trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, and irregular polygons).
Students must first prove that they can draw the geometry figures in Christmas Village by drawing a series of shapes on grid paper. Then it’s time for Part 2! Students use two pieces of grid paper (taped together) to draw all of the figures on Santa’s direction sheet.
The first two parts of the activity took approximately two math lessons to complete. The first day I introduced the activity, and students completed the first part where they proved they were ready for the task! (I would definitely not recommend this for the START of a geometry unit). Then students taped their grid paper and prepared for Part 2. It took students our whole math time the following day to add their layout and drawings on grid paper. I strongly encouraged them to go slow and to give their best effort. Otherwise, I’d have some finish in about 10 minutes.
After students finished Part 2, I let them work with a partner to complete Part 3. I used grid chart paper, so the final products were really big. If I had used 12×18 construction paper, I probably would have preferred students work independently.
This part can take as long as you want. If you have the time, give students the opportunity to go all out and draw and color each building. If you’re in a hurry, students could just color in the buildings a solid color. It took about one math lesson to complete the drawings, and students colored in about half of the pictures in another math lesson.
It’s been a long time since I was this excited about a new math lesson. I honestly don’t know who was more excited me or my students. They were motivated and on task, while applying what they learned in our geometry unit. This one is definitely a keeper!