Different Patterns Among the Shapes

Submitted By:
Amanda Fox, Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Which One Doesn't Belong? by Christopher Danielson
Stenhouse Publishers, September 1, 2016

Christopher Danielson has taken the humble shape book, a staple of the early childhood classroom, and revolutionized it in a way that will stimulate engaging discourse for readers of any age. The concept is simple: each page presents four shapes and poses the question, “which one doesn’t belong?” The innovation and spur to creativity is that any answer can be correct – as long as you can justify your choice. Looking at the example on the cover, is it the one that has only right angles? Or is it the one that has no axis of symmetry? Too often geometry is presented as little more than a list of terms to memorize; this book shows shapes as a fascinating collection of different properties and patterns to be studied, analyzed, and discussed, and along the way, it builds thinking skills that could support further inquiry in other disciplines. Readers delight in listening to others’ justifications and in changing their mind when they discover a different pattern among the shapes. Danielson’s book has created a movement among educators at all levels who are using the same concept to explore science, high level mathematics, and more. Readers looking for even more to ponder can turn to Twitter for inspiration at #wodb.

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