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Geometry of Congruent & Similar Figures Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Teaching geometry to middle school students can be as engaging as it is important. This lesson provides activities that address the topics of congruent and similar figures at the middle school level.

Geometry in Middle School

If you are a middle school math teacher, then you probably dedicate about one unit per year to the study of geometry. Middle school students have usually had some exposure to basic geometric concepts and soon they will be dealing with the complex and sophisticated topics associated with high school geometry. As a middle school teacher, you are helping them make this transition toward more abstract and intricate geometric thinking.

One of the concepts that you will cover in geometry is about congruence and similarity between different shapes. To make this topic more motivating for students, it can help to incorporate some activities into your instruction. The activities in this lesson will keep your middle school students motivated as they learn about what it means for figures to be congruent or similar.

Visual Activities

This section provides activities that will appeal to students with visual learning styles and strengths.

Draw Congruent, Draw Similar

Let students work in small groups or with partners for this activity. Encourage them to work silently. Using a Smartboard or projector, show them one figure at a time. The figure should include its measurements.

Ask them to work together with a ruler, paper, and pencil to quickly sketch a similar and a congruent shape, with dimensions. Give them two minutes to do so before you go to the next figure. After ten figures, let students present their work and discuss what strategies they used.

Art with Similar and Congruent Figures

This activity can be done independently or in partnerships.

Assign each pair or student one figure to begin with. Then, ask them to create an image made up only of that figure and others which are either congruent or similar to it. Challenge students to create images that are aesthetically pleasing to them or represent real things. Then, have them share their art with classmates and discuss what it is like to work with congruency and similarity this way.

Tactile Activities

Here, you find activities that allow students to use their hands and bodies to access the geometric concepts.

Models of Similar Figures

Students can do this activity with partners.

Give each pair a set of toothpicks and glue to work with. Then, assign them a figure that has specified dimensions. Ask them to use the toothpicks and rulers to create a similar figure that is a predetermined proportion of the original figure. You can decide whether they should make it larger or smaller; they may need to cut the toothpicks to specific dimensions. They should glue their toothpicks to paper or cardboard to represent the new figure.

Matching Congruent and Similar Figures

This fun activity can be used as a warm-up and allows students to move their bodies. Around your classroom, hang images of different figures with their dimensions. Each figure should have at least one congruent or similar match somewhere else in the room. Alternatively, you can have students create the images to hang.

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