Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

"If you read a child a math book" (with apologies to Laura Numeroff)

If you read a child a math book...(like Mummy Math)
he will want to make Platonic Solids models...

with toothpicks and gumdrops...
like tetrahedrons...
and octahedrons...
and that might make him a little confused...
but he'll keep working at it and he will get it...

 and then he might want make polyhedra models...

and that will remind him of one time we counted shape faces and he'll want to do it again...
and that will make him want to count the vertices and edges...

and that will lead the oldest child to remember when we did this before and that will lead to
Euler's Polyhedron Formula,

and that will lead to counting in positive and negative numbers...and then he'll want you to read another.

Living math books with these geometric concepts:

What is a polygon? 
The first time we visited the topic of polygons, we used some paper polygons. The we made a chart, counting the edges and vertices with a marker. The older students could plug in Euler's formula. While talking about it we discovered that the same formula can be applied to 2-dimensional figures with a constant of 1 instead of 2. Makes one think, huh? 

This time we used toothpicks and gumdrops, which we have done before. Toothpicks and gumdrops are good to work with to make regular polygon because the equal sized toothpicks make them automatically have all their sides the same length. This time when we counted the edges and vertices, they were easy to count because the edges are the sides, denoted by how many toothpicks are used and vertices are where two sides meet up, denoted by how many gumdrops are used. This time, because we wanted to look closely at the Platonic solids, they measured the angles with a protractor and (with a little adjusting) correctly determined that three of the five Platonic Solids are made out of equalateral triangles. I thought it was interesting that Tiffini at Child's Play, when she did this lesson, also brought the children's attention to Polyhedral Dice and their shapes, which made counting the sides even easier as that is how the dice are named. We use those dice all  the time for our math games.


  1. Love watching their expressions when they get a little confused and are working so hard to figure it out!

  2. RightStart has a really cool way of making polyhedrons with an instruction book of the names and pictures of a huge number of polyhedrons!

  3. Love this post! We've read all three of those books, and made polygons with toothpicks and mini marshmallows -- but we've got lots more to learn!

  4. We tried making polygons with marshmallows and toothpicks but JC was too young at the time. Gumdrops look like so much fun to use too! I'm looking forward to do this when JC gets older.

  5. Anonymous23.10.10

    Wow, what a great idea to use gumdrops. I don't know if we could get such large sized ones in Singapore though!

  6. Thanks for linking up at Feed Me Books Friday! What a great hands on math lesson! I just saw a post earlier this week about building with toothpicks and mini marshmallows. My 4 yr old isn't quite ready for polyhedrons, but I think building sculptures and towers is a good start! Hope you'll be back again this week - check out the giveaway post, too!


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