My students needed to learn about the properties of six quadrilaterals for one of our math objectives. They had to learn the side and angle rules for each shape.
Some shapes have four 90 degree-angles, while other shapes have equal length sides. Some shapes matching acute and obtuse angles, while others have parallel sides.
In order to get my students to learn these distinctions, I had them study all six shapes' definitions in order to take part in a fun activity and a game with them!
The activity used a website called, Creately.com, which allows students to create graphic organizers, flowcharts, mind maps, etc. It has nearly all the great features of Google Docs, but with a visual-organization purpose.
My students working on their graphic organizers & researching the properties of their quadrilaterals.
At this point, I assigned each students two shapes randomly (but I could have differentiated instruction here by giving some of the easier shapes to my struggling students, etc.). They would need to compare and contrast each shape based on their properties and put them in the correct places on the Venn Diagram. I explained to my students that it would be up to them to find all the properties of their shapes using any resources in the room or online. Many students used this time to learn more about their shapes - the semi-authentic purpose motivated most students to become researchers on the topic!
Finally, I gave my students time to work, but circulated around to assist and fix mistakes. My students know that when they have questions, they need to ask each other first, so collaboration was happening quite a bit despite each student having their own specific task! One of the great things about Creately is that students can be working collaboratively inside a shared document - just like a Google Doc! This may come in handy as a few of my kids are finishing these up this evening from home! I can see it now, a phone call to a friend, "Can you help me fix my trapezoid? The file name is..." What a great world we live in!!! :)