Friday was the last day I was to teach at the Bondeni School. After working with Tangrams on Thursday, I came ready to work with Pentominoes on this day. I was also told I would have more time to continue to work with class on writing as well. It was another great day.
I was first introduced to Pentominoes when I read Blue Balliett's book "Chasing Vermeer" a couple of years ago. Pentominoes is the set of shapes created by combining 5 squares or cubes, with faces touching each other, in every possible combination. Mirror images and rotations do not count as additional combinations. There are 12 unique shapes made this way:
The shapes can be turned into shapes that look like these 12 letters: F I L N P T U V W X Y Z
After introducing the pieces, we talked about math terms related to the shapes: area, perimeter, flip, turn, and rotate. I had them try making puzzles, but today they had to share puzzle pieces as I only had 8 sets of these. I realized that with the limited time that we had, the groups would not have time to experiment with the pieces and try to build a rectangle using all 12 pieces, so I modified the activity for the day seeing if they could use 3 pieces to make a rectangle. They had fun manipulating and fitting the pieces together. Some groups tried making a giant rectangle, but they ran out of time. The good news is that I left the sets of pentominoes at the school for the students to use in their free time.
You can try playing with pentominoes at this site or make your own pentominoes here.