Play dough? Year 6? Year 9? ABSOLUTELY!
I’m not sure that we ever grow out of a love for play dough. Find out how to use play dough to support your older children in developing their mathematical skills.
How can play dough be used to learn about 2D shapes?
I’ll be perfectly honest, I’ve not seen many play dough mats specifically aimed at KS2 or KS3, and I want to change that. There is so much learning to get out of this activity – it’s great for all ages.
You will need:
- Play dough mats – KS2 DOWNLOAD or KS3 DOWNLOAD
- Laminating pouches
- Play dough
Protect your pocket and check out Rainy Day Mum‘s homemade play dough recipe.
How to use my downloaded Play Dough Mats?
- Print your play dough mats.
- Laminate your mats (back to back would use less pouches) – You could also seal in a plastic wallet/folder or cover with sticky back plastic.
- Read the properties of the shape on the mat and try to create the shape with your play dough.
Features on the mats
- has a handy non-standard ruler at the bottom to you can make sure if your shape is meant to have sides of an equal length, you can check that you are creating equal lengths with your dough.
- has a set of properties for each shape using the correct mathematical vocabulary.
- explores sides, vertices, angles, lines of symmetry, parallel lines.
- has a gridded space to place your created shapes
How to Extent Learning Using Your Play Dough Mats
- Grab yourself a trusty protractor. Measure the angles.
- Look for further properties with the angles. Are any the same? Which ones? Opposing angles?
- Give specific lengths or angles to aim for when creating the shape.
- Give SOME specific lengths or angles and then use your knowledge of shape to working out missing information. Create the shape to check your answers.
- Link it to algebra.
- Use a second colour of dough to extend your lengths out to help represent and calculate exterior angles.
- Grab yourself a mirror to find all the lines of symmetry mentioned in the properties lists.
- For the regular shapes, explore side lengths to test if the properties are truthful.
- For the irregular shapes, see how many different variations you can create. Just because a shapes has 5 sides, must it always be a pentagon? Check against the criteria on the properties list.
- Understand perimeter at greater depth by lining all the sides up to find the length.
- Understand area by counting the squares inside and then using formulae such as length multiplied by width (Area=L x W)
THERE’S SO MUCH YOU CAN DO, at so many levels. We’ll keep adding to this list too.
What not just use a worksheet?
Learning has changed hugely over the years and much of classroom learning is about learning through ‘concrete’ and ‘pictorial’ ways to then help children fully understand ‘abstract’ idea. In basic terms, if I have (concrete) 3 apples and add 2 more, I see I have 5 apples. I draw (pictorial) it and I can also see I have 5 apples. If I have the question (abstract) what is 3+2? I UNDERSTAND why the answer is 5.
Why not use pictures and phyiscal shapes instead?
Do! Please do! But use them AS WELL AS, not instead of. Children mostly learn best by exploring things in variety of ways. In fact, if you haven’t already got a set of 2D shapes and a set of 3D shapes, check out the links to the ones I use at home and SOON find out how we use 2D shapes to support our learning at home and how we use 3D shapes to support our learning at home too.
Now imagine you are a builder or a doctor and you only ever looked at pictures and models, would you ever master your craft? Unlikely. Hands on is vital.
What are the other benefits of playdough?
Play dough is often a key tool in all kinds of therapy. Simply squishing, rolling, twisting play dough can help children and adults to relax, focus, de-stress or help use up energy as a ‘fidget tool’. Play dough can take away anger with smashing and throwing actions as well as help children explore their creativity through model-making or storytelling. It’s also a sensory experience and those twists, turns, cuts, thumps, stretches of the dough can help to develop certain muscles that aid writing and other motor skills.
Check out our other play dough activities SOON.
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WHERE DOES IT FIT THE CURRICULUM?
KEY STAGE 2
- Identify, represent and estimate numbers using different representations
- Measure, compare, add and subtract: lengths (m/cm/mm)
- Measure the perimeter of simple 2-D shapes
- Draw 2-D shapes and make 3-D shapes using modelling materials
- Recognise angles as a property of shape or a description of a turn
- Identify right angles, recognise that 2 right angles make a half-turn, 3 make three quarters of a turn and 4 a complete turn; identify whether angles are greater than or less than a right angle
- Identify horizontal and vertical lines and pairs of perpendicular and parallel lines.
- Identify, represent and estimate numbers using different representations
- Measure and calculate the perimeter of a rectilinear figure (including squares) in centimetres and metres
- Find the area of a rectilinear shape by counting the squares
- Compare and classify geometric shapes, including quadrilaterals and triangles, based on their properties and sizes
- Identify acute and obtuse angles and compare and order angles up to 2 right angles by size
- Identify lines of symmetry in 2-D shapes presented in different orientations
- Complete a simple symmetric figure with respect to a specific line of symmetry.
- Measure and calculate the perimeter of composite rectilinear shapes in centimetres and metres
- Calculate and compare the area of rectangles (including squares) including using standard units, square centimetres (cm2) and square metres (m2) and estimate the area of irregular shapes
- Know angles are measured in degrees: estimate and compare acute, obtuse and reflex angles
- Draw given angles, and measure them in degrees (o)
- angles at a point and 1 whole turn (total 360o)
- angles at a point on a straight line and half a turn (total 180o)
- other multiples of 90o
- Use the properties of rectangles to deduce related facts and find missing lengths and angles
- Distinguish between regular and irregular polygons based on reasoning about equal sides and angles.
- Solve problems involving similar shapes where the scale factor is known or can be found
- Use simple formulae
- Recognise that shapes with the same areas can have different perimeters and vice versa
- Recognise when it is possible to use formulae for area and volume of shapes
- Calculate the area of parallelograms and triangles
- Draw 2-D shapes using given dimensions and angles
- Recognise, describe and build simple 3-D shapes, including making nets
- Compare and classify geometric shapes based on their properties and sizes and find unknown angles in any triangles, quadrilaterals, and regular polygons
- Recognise angles where they meet at a point, are on a straight line, or are vertically opposite, and find missing angles.
KEY STAGE 3
These mats will help to consolidate many of the concepts in KS2 but can also help with the basics to lead on to these objectives AND MORE:
- Consolidate their numerical and mathematical capability from key stage 2 and extend their understanding.
- Use language and properties precisely to analyse numbers, algebraic expressions, 2-d and 3-d shapes, probability and statistics.
- Extend and formalise their knowledge of ratio and proportion in working with measures and geometry, and in formulating proportional relations algebraically.
- Identify variables and express relations between variables algebraically and graphically.
- Make and test conjectures about patterns and relationships; look for proofs or counter-examples.
- Begin to reason deductively in geometry, number and algebra, including using geometrical constructions.
- Interpret when the structure of a numerical problem requires additive, multiplicative or proportional reasoning.
- Understand and use standard mathematical formulae; rearrange formulae to change the subject.
- Describe, sketch and draw using conventional terms and notations: points, lines, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, right angles, regular polygons, and other polygons that are reflectively and rotationally symmetric.
- Derive and illustrate properties of triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, and other plane figures using appropriate language and technologies.
- Apply the properties of angles at a point, angles at a point on a straight line, vertically opposite angles.
- Understand and use the relationship between parallel lines and alternate and corresponding angles.
- Derive and use the sum of angles in a triangle and use it to deduce the angle sum in any polygon, and to derive properties of regular polygons.