In 7th grade math, we’re working on area. We’ve gone through all of the basic formulas with careful attention to how they are related to one another — the triangle being half of a rectangle, the trapezoid being a combination of two triangles, and so forth.
Now we’re on to area of mixed polygons, such as my fabulous depiction of a car below:
Most of the kids, apart from hurting my feelings by laughing at my car, are grasping this idea pretty well. However, I have a handful who are struggling to look at a figure and divide it up into simpler figures. Sounds like time for a recess intervention! This is a perfect excuse to break out the Tangrams (or “Tangoes,” as my set is called), and give kids who need it some extra practice visualizing how figures can be composed of simpler figures.