April 3, 2017

Pegs and Rubber Bands go Digital in Geometry App

By Rob Klindt, Contributing Writer | Literacy Resources

Pegs and rubber bands don’t immediately come to mind as classroom teaching tools. Especially in today’s digital era. But, why not?

They can be great manipulative tools for teaching and illustrating basic geometry concepts. Rubber bands stretched around pegs can create a plethora of geometric shapes, including polygons, triangles, squares and even octagons. Cool, huh? Now, let’s think digital.

For classrooms using digital tablets, an educational app called Geoboard from The Math Learning Center uses digital rubber bands to illustrate properties, line segments and other geometric points and measurements.

The app targets students in upper elementary grades and middle school and makes a great supplement to in-class instruction. Topics include:

  • Geoboard use virtual rubber bads and pegs to illustrate basic geometry conceptsAngles
  • Area
  • Congruence
  • Fractions
  • Perimeters

A good teaching exercise is to have students create specific geometric shapes to show what they’ve learned from the app. More advanced users can create shapes using a specific number of rubber bands and use the app tools to calculate the area inside.

How it works

No registration is needed; students can start using the app as soon as it’s downloaded into their device. The app opens showing a standard square board with icons for eight colored rubber bands below.

The bottom of the screen has a function toolbar. New users should start by tapping the “I” information icon in the lower right corner of the screen to launch a “How to Use Geoboard” page.

The page explains how to drag bands onto the board and manipulate them into line segments and geometric shapes. It also tells how to customize the view by adding color, text, grids or numbers. Tap “Done” in the upper right corner to return to the start page.

Many dynamic features make the app versatile and fun for students. Among the most helpful:

  • A text tool for writing equations and expressions
  • Rubber band colors that can be changed
  • Shapes that can be filled with transparent colors
  • Shapes can be moved, rotated, duplicated or flipped
  • Square, rectangle and round boards

Visual learners will respond well to seeing how the colored rubber bands define geometric shapes and patterns. Kinesthetic learners will enjoy the movement associated with stretching and moving the rubber bands around the pegs to create line segments and angles.

What’s included

Content in the Geoboard app is all-inclusive. Once it’s been downloaded into a device, all content and tools, including pegboards, rubber bands, text and drawing tools, will work without an internet connection.

There are no advertisements or in-app purchases, and no registration is needed.

Download details

The “Geoboard” app by The Math Learning Center is free. It can be downloaded from iTunes and is compatible with iPhones and iPad tablets running iOS version 7.0 or later. An Android version for Chromebook tablets is in the education app category at the Google Chrome web store. A free web-based version of the app for desktop computers is on The Math Learning Center website.

Rob Klindt’s “App Reviews” combine his passion for writing with an ever-growing interest in educational technology. His simple, straightforward approach to reviewing educational apps help educators and parents leverage new tools for students in and out of the classroom.

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