Hexagons: The First Day

The first day back from break can be a little rough.

Trying something new you’ve never done before can be a little rough.

Doing both at the same time?

Can be a magical roller-coaster of the good, the bad, and the who-even-knows-how-that-went.

On Monday I introduced the hexagons. Not having planned ahead enough to create a wooden set on the school’s laser cutter, I resorted to good old-fashioned cardstock.


I used the cards to separate kids into random groups and then each group named and defined their hexagon. This is the part that didn’t go so awesomely. Funny thing is, kids don’t know what a “definition” is. So, what they did was:

  1. Ask me if I wanted a definition of hexagon. [Thank you, but no.]
  2. Write a list of every single characteristic of their hexagon they could think of.

Not exactly what I had in mind…

But I went with it. Students wrote up their characteristics on chart paper and posted their “definitions” around the room. Then I had everyone do a Post-It activity where they drew a hexagon based on the written description. Another flaw: everyone said they remembered what the hexagons looked like from the grouping shuffle at the beginning of class, so there wasn’t much gained from this part of the class. Oh well.

Next step was to create Venn diagrams of each group’s hexagon and the hexagon to their left. The goal was to discover if it was possible to create a hexagon that fit into the intersection of the two circles. I don’t think any group was able to do this based on their definitions. We repeated with the group to the right. Same story.

That’s when things started to pick up.

I grabbed a marker and set up shop at the hexagon in the front of the room, the Pakman (aside: this group took freaking forever to come up with a name for their hexagon). I asked if there was any way to simplify their list of categories into one succinct description that contained the essential characteristics of a Pakman without additional or redundant information.


After some debate and discussion we settled on the idea that a Pakman’s essential element was that it was a hexagon composed of two congruent parallelograms.

I ended the class by asking:



And, just like the class itself, this will be continued tomorrow…

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