Top 5 Manipulatives: Ang Legs

If you’ve taught for very long or investigated any text book series, you’ll notice a variety of things, but one thing that I noticed is that geometry is usually taught towards the end of the school year. Often times teachers think to themselves or talk with their team members about how their students don’t know this or don’t know that in terms of geometry. Think about this… if we are only teaching geometry at the end of every year, students are being exposed to geometry about every 12 months. Every April or May, geometry is being taught, but the students haven’t had much geometry exposure since the prior April or May. I’m a big advocate of using Daily Number Sense Routines to supplement any text book series. Part of my idea of a Daily Number Sense Routine includes the learning standards from the geometry domain.

The calendar date cards for each grade level in the DNSR that I help teachers use in their classrooms incorporates geometry standards and patterns. This particular image is from 4th grade. The date cards are reviewing types of angles. (acute, obtuse, right, straight)

I LOVE getting math in my students’ hands. Giving students a chance to feel and build the math enhances their learning and curiosity. Getting manipulatives in students’ hands gives them the opportunity to explore, take chances on being wrong, and make corrections in a low stakes environment. Ang Legs (or manipulatives similar) is one of my most favorite tools to use when working in the geometry domain. I used them all year long in my classroom. I have used them in all grade levels K-5 when doing interventions or coaching.

Ang Legs are a great tool to get students playing around with shapes. You’ll notice in the images that Ang Legs are made of straight pieces in various colors and various lengths. When introducing them to students, I give them time to just play with them. One of my favorite ways to get students to play with math tools is by first introducing them to students in our Morning Math Tubs. (I’ll write a post on those in the next few weeks. That’s one you do not want to miss.) Allowing students to get acquainted with and explore with a new math tool in a low-pressure, no stakes situation.

This student used the protractors that came with the Ang Legs to build a bicycle with the pieces. Even through the blur, you can see his smile.
These students are sharing a set of Ang Legs and building various shapes and angles.
During morning tubs, this young man made an animal. I love when students use their creativity!
This young man is building a “house”. Using his time with the Ang Legs during morning tub time gives students a chance to explore and be curious with these math tools.

The Ang Legs snap together at their end points and can also snap to protractors that are included. Check out how these students are exploring with various connections.

On top of using Ang Legs with geometry standards, I also like to add some rubber bands and geo boards into the morning tubs and my lesson plans. I have very strict rules about being responsible and respectful with the rubber bands. With the chances of rubber band snapping and shooting across the room, I also have printed geoboards that are handed out to those who cannot handle using rubber bands appropriately. I think in my 17 years of teaching, only 2 students needed the worksheets. Being prepared to have a consequence made the expectation of being responsible and respectful a little more serious.

Ang Legs can be played with by students K-12 and even beyond. If you teach any type of geometry standard, Ang Legs are a tool that will make your geometry math lessons more engaging and more meaningful.

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hand2mind: Small Set

hand2mind: Class Set (This is one of the sets that I have.)

EAI: 6 sets with dry erase task boards

edxeduation: includes arcs and circles

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