Saturday, April 7, 2012

Learning Stations-Circles. Tangrams, and Pentominoes

A few days ago we did some learning station work in my regular math classes.  We made three different learning stations and rotated them between the six table groups in my class.  It certainly was much easier to do these learning stations this quarter because I have a student teacher.  Two teachers are definitely better than one!  My fifth hour class is my inclusion hour and there were three of us.  The stations were pretty loud and sometimes chaotic with more than one group finishing different centers simultaneously, but the students were really engaged in their problem solving and most groups collaborated really well.

Two of the learning stations were activities I found in the binder Tangrams and Pentominoes purchased many years ago from Nasco.

I was shocked how many of my students had never used tangrams or pentominoes.  In past years they were really familiar with tangrams and this year some students said, they had used them in previous years.  No one knew what a pentomino was.

The tangrams with the introductory tangram packet.

Students working.

This girl really wanted her hand in the photo!  :)
The pentomino station seemed to be a student favorite.  They really enjoyed solving the pentomino puzzles.  Several students asked to do the next pentomino packet after they finished the three learning stations.
Pentominoes with the intro packet.

Students really worked together on this and had fun.

Many wanted to keep doing pentominoes.

The final station was measuring the radius or diameter of cut out circles in either centimeters or inches.  Then students needed to calculate the area and circumference of the circle.  Our text teaches circumference and then area of circles separately and we definitely felt that this center really helped students to be able to keep the formulas for area and circumference straight.  The special ed teacher who teaches with me cut out all these circles, bless her heart!  I had the idea for the center, but no time to cut circles and she volunteered to do it.  I was thrilled with how the station turned out.

This is a complete station (we stored it in a large ziploc bag.  They needed a full sized ruler for the large blue circle.

Working on the station.

Measuring and calculating.

I made a chart on the SMARTBoard where we kept track of each group's progress on the stations.  While a group was working we put a check mark under that station and after they checked their work with one of the teachers we changed the check mark to an X.  It was important for us to have a visual record of where everyone was to minimize the chaos.  These activities were perfect to keep students focused for the last two days before Spring break.  Can we say it was a bit crazy?!  I was really proud of how well the majority of the students worked together.

I would love to hear about any learning stations you have been using in your math class.  For more learning station ideas shared by other teachers check out this post on Corkboard Connections.


  1. Hi Sherrie:

    I have those same Tangram sets!
    Remember how the Nasco catalog weighed about six pounds?!

    LOVE the circle station. I agree with blending the two skills--otherwise they just do the same thing on the whole page without reading OR thinking!

    Wishing you a happy week!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. The stations are great! I love the circle station. Do you happen to have a template for the circle station?

    1. I do not have a template. My co-teacher actually cut them out, she has some sort of circle cutter she used.

  3. Hello - was wondering where you got the worksheet packets or if you made them yourself. Thanks!

  4. I love these ideas for centers. I have one questions did the handouts for the Tangrams and Pentominoes come with the set or did you get them from somewhere else? I would love to have these for my centers. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Hi Brenda,
      The packets came from a binder I purchased many years ago. Here is the info about it


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