Introducing the Word and Shape
For the teacher:
The prefix penta means five. It begins such words as pentagram, which is a star-shaped figure having five points, and the word pentadactyl, meaning having five fingers on each hand or five toes on each foot.
A pentagon is a closed figure with five straight sides. It can be a regular pentagon that is in the shape of a house or that of The Pentagon building. It can also be irregular in shape as long as it is a closed figure with five sides.
Say to your students, “Did you know that the pentagon shape is so important that there is a famous building in the United States designed in a pentagon shape and it is actually called The Pentagon! It is a building that has offices for the Navy, Army, Marines and
so on. "
Provide a picture of The Pentagon or use the book The Pentagon (First Facts: American Symbols) by Terri Degezelle. The book is for ages 4-8 and tells the story of the Pentagon.
Provide plastic straws to teams of students. You may choose to have some longer straws and shorter straws available. See how many closed shapes they can form with five sides. Can a pentagon look like a house? Can a pentagon look like a rocket ship? Circulate around the room to see what the children have created.
Pentagons Around Us
There are several things in nature that have the pentagon shape. If you slice okra you will notice the five sides. A morning glory flower has five sides as well.
The black shapes on a soccer ball are pentagons! School crossing signs are pentagons, too.
Book and Follow-Up Pentagon Activity
- Click on this printable worksheet – and print or copy one for each child. Try printing on cardstock to have a heavier foundation.
- Shredded wheat
- Thin pretzel sticks
- Graham crackers broken into rectangular sections
- Paste or school glue
- Background paper for mounting the house
Read the book Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone and David Neuhaus. In the book the pigs use the magic shapes to help them with their wolf problems! Follow up by providing a worksheet so that your children can put two shapes together to make a pentagon-shaped house for the pigs.
After the students have completed the assembly of the pentagon shaped house, divide your students into three groups. One group will make straw houses covering the houses with shredded wheat. The next group will have stick houses covering them with pretzel sticks. The last group will have brick houses made with graham crackers.
Get in Shape!
Shapes are such a fun thing to teach in preschool. It develops math skills and visual/perception skills. The children also love to learn "big" words like octagon, pentagon and square! Preschool pentagon activities will be an exciting part of your unit/theme on shapes in the classroom.
IXL.com offers games to play for all math objectives from Pre-K through 8th grade. State-by-State standards listed.
MathIsFun.com shows pictures of regular and irregular pentagons.
The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. The triangle is bored having only three sides and tries to become other shapes.
The Shapes We Eat by Simone Ribke. Shows photographs of foods in different shapes along with simple text to describe each shape.