Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Top Down Webs in Geometry
by: Catherine McCarthy

Using top-down webs as both a note-taking and processing tool is beneficial to students in Geometry.  In Geometry, students are challenged to identify the patterns that exist within different shapes and to solve the algebraic equations that are embedded in these figures. When faced with geometric problems, students can struggle to merge their understanding of Algebra with their emerging understanding of the geometric principles they are studying. By encouraging students to create top-down webs which clearly identify the properties of the shapes, students can reference these notes when solving the problems. Furthermore, including models of equations reinforces students’ understanding of how to set up new problems.
In addition to guiding students through the problem-solving process, top-down webs provide a note-taking method that allow them to compare and contrast and see the relationships between the characteristics of shapes being studied. Including visual depictions of each shape provides an immediate reference for students that reinforces their knowledge. When students are provided with a blank template at the start of the unit, the can add information as they proceed through the unit and immediately begin to see comparisons.

Students can also use these webs as study tools. When the elements of a web are put on separate pieces of paper, the information can be reviewed by building the web from memory to check understanding. The use of both color and pictures helps students identify common elements and differences across shapes.

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