Looking through the past 8 days of work with hexagon types we have done in class, I have realized how challenging it is going to be to teach this material. I don't remember any specific lessons or activities that I learned in elementary school and I want to make that a different story for my future students, but how?
Starting with the basics is essential, along with not teaching just the "regular shapes". Too many students get the idea in their head of a regular hexagon and can't get out of that hole, sadly I am one of those students. I have been working hard to see that a hexagon is a shape with six sides and six angles that don't necessary have to be congruent, but also can be. As a college student in a class full of future elementary teachers it has been a challenge to take my thinking back to the time I learned geometry for the first time. It is hard to look through the perspective of a child who has little to no knowledge of geometry shapes, like hexagons. To put ourselves in the places of our future students, we started creating hexagons and our own hexagon types. Each group of students came up with a new type and pitched it to the class so we could get a "standard" list of our hexagon types. Finding examples and non-examples was where the real fun started. It's so interesting to make up your own shapes that look like nothing you have ever seen before, but still fit the properties of a hexagon. Running through this activity with college students is a lot like teaching the elementary students real hexagon types and properties. Understanding the properties of each type helped me better my full understanding as well as move me forward in the Van Hiele levels, which is something I will need to do with my students.
It is time for teachers to get away from the cute activities that are fun for the students and get into the real meat of teaching these shapes. Teaching for understanding is something teachers struggle with, especially when trying to be creative. There is still room for creativity we just need to make sure we are doing the right types of activities, always touching on the big ideas. During our discussion we thought of some big ideas that should be a part of our hexagon lessons, as well as all math lessons we will teach: