What are Geoboards?
Developed by Egyptian-born, English mathematics scholar Caleb Gattegno, Geoboards are a tool used to teach children geometry. They were originally created as wooden squares with nails or brass pins in a variety configurations, upon which rubber bands could be stretched into various shapes.
Why should I use them?
Geoboards provide students with the experience of creating shapes, rotating shapes, exploring angles, and concretely exploring the properties of geometric objects.
Virtual geoboards in particular have a very practical benefit of avoiding the use of actual rubber bands that can be a distraction in the classroom. In her discussion of the first time she used geoboards in the classroom, veteran teacher Marilyn Burns shared this funny story:
“I gave a geoboard to each student, distributed a cup of rubber bands to each pair, and gave time for exploration. Within a minute, chaos reigned. The cups were empty; every geoboard was full. Some students slouched in their chairs waiting for instructions. A few strummed the rubber bands as if the geoboard were a guitar. Several students, attempting to remove rubber bands from the geoboards, instead sent them flying. Others disappeared under their desks to retrieve lost rubber bands. This wasn’t what I had envisioned.”