Our first block of the year is Geometry. This is very exciting, since we are finally able to use drawing tools, and my sixth grader feels very grown up! The single most useful resource for this block was Eugene Schwartz’s Grade 6 Intensive. This online intensive is the best and most complete information I have ever had for preparing lessons. I only wish the price was more stay-at-home-mom friendly. At $300, it can be quite a stretch for most of us.
He has 4 videos that cover geometry in the Intensive. He shows all of the instruments that are needed, how to use them, how to instruct the children, and what to expect from them.
I also used:
Live Ed Nature, Number and Geometry (although I did not find it particularly helpful)
This book is fabulous. In addition to the math curriculum like arithmetic and business math, he gives many geometric constructions. No lesson plans, but plenty of useful information. He shows simple constructions like bisecting a line and dividing circles, and also gives some examples of making more complicated designs.
He also has a free YouTube videos about Geometry through the grades. It is a great overview, and I am grateful that he offered it for free!
This is a great little book too. It has some nice constructions that can be tricky to find elsewhere.
String, Straightedge, and Shadow is a storybook… I cannot recommend this one enough. I read it aloud while my daughter is coloring her geometric drawings, which takes a looooong time! This book absolutely brings geometry to life. It is well written and thoroughly interesting. We will probably not finish it this year, which is fine, since we will have more geometry in the coming years.
Now on to our work. First, we draw the geometric construction, and both of our drawings look exactly the same. Then we begin to color… we each choose how we wish to color our drawings, so now they are individual works of art. We keep most of our construction lines. You may be able to see them if you look carefully. Eugene Schwartz recommended this, pointing out that these drawings are a blend of geometry and art. So the construction lines become a component of the art… it adds to the beauty. However, sometimes we do erase a few lines.
Eugene also suggests this ‘feathering’ technique in the coloring, which give the drawings a reflective quality.
My sixth grader’s drawings are on the left, while mine are on the right:
…this one was tricky for me. I saw the ‘instructions’ in Making Math Meaningful. He says to mark the quarter points on the first square and connect. Then continue with each new square. Well, I tried this for a while, and it seemed like I was never going to be finished, and it was exceedingly difficult to keep it accurate as the squares got smaller. So I decided to divide the circle in 16 sections, and voila! All of the quarter points were there!
If you are about to embark on Grade 6 Geometry, be prepared to give your child plenty of time for coloring. A few of these drawings took 4 hours to color. I had to dedicate 2 main lessons for those drawings.