Shape and space:
Shape and space (also known as geometry) is the study of two- and three-dimensional objects and their properties. It involves understanding properties of angles, lines, reflection, rotation and enlargement.
A particularly important aspect of Shape and space is the idea of proof. It is proof that distinguishes mathematics from the sciences. Children first meet a proof in Year 8 when they are shown the proof that the angles of a triangle add up to 180°.
Shape and space has clear links within mathematics to ratio and proportion (similar shapes), and to other subjects such as design with scale drawing, science with growth, and geography with maps and scales.
Someone who has a good understanding of Shape and Space is likely to have good ‘spatial awareness’. This will help in everyday life (driving, do-it-yourself, reading maps and most sports). Good spatial awareness is essential in many jobs, for example: building, architecture, engineering and fashion design.
You can help your child by:
- Asking them about shapes they have been studying in school. You may be surprised to find out that they know about circles, quadrilaterals (square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, trapezium and kite), triangles (scalene, right-angled, isosceles and equilateral), and other polygons such as pentagon (five sides), hexagon (six sides) and octagon (eight sides).
- Asking them about solids they have studied – these could include sphere, cube, cuboid, pyramid, tetrahedron and octahedron.
- Involving them in do-it-yourself projects – for instance designing their bedroom.
- Using language such as ‘parallel’ and ‘perpendicular’ (at right angles).
There are lots of games and puzzles (for all ages) that are very good for developing spatial awareness.