What Are Pattern Blocks Used for?
- Geometric blocks can include any of the basic shapes, such as circle, octagon, rectangle, triangle and square. A child remembers these shapes better when they are associated with the basic colors. Young children learn to match colors and shapes at the same time; they take these basic skills with them to the higher grades, where they use them seamlessly in addition, division, fractions and subtraction.
Math Pattern Blocks
- The same geometric blocks teach the concepts of basic math, such as addition and subtraction. For example, a rectangle can be divided into squares. If a picture shows an empty blue-lined rectangle, the child must determine how many square blue shapes will fit in the blue rectangle. Likewise, a square or a diamond can be divided into two triangles. These concepts easily translate to math problems that children practice by removing or inserting certain shapes or colors.
- Pattern blocks are an excellent tool for teaching basic fraction concepts. For example, children can use pattern blocks to determine how many triangles there are in a circle or an octagon. One triangle removed from a six-sided hexagon equals 1/6 of the whole; one triangle removed from an octagon equals 1/8 of the whole. Likewise, a rectangle divided into squares teaches the same fraction principles.
- Pattern blocks also teach division principles. For example, dividing a circle into four or six parts teaches the concept of how many parts equal a whole. A six-part octagon divided by 2 equals 3, which is demonstrated by dividing the octagon in half and showing how many parts are on each side. Teaching the basics of division in a visual way results in higher comprehension and retention.