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Are Trapezoids "Trapping" Your Students?

In a previous posting (Aliens and Trapezoids, July 7, 2011) I shared with you how I taught my students to remember the word trapezoid.  Today, I would like to talk about the characteristics of a trapezoid. 

As I search on Pinterest, I find quadrilaterals that look like the one on the right classified as "trapezoids".  Indeed they are, but this is a special kind of trapezoid because it has one set of equal sides, one line of symmetry and one set of parallel sides.  It is called an isosceles trapezoid.  Isosceles means "having two equal sides" just as an isosceles triangle has.
BUT to be a trapezoid, the only characteristic needed is one set of parallel sides.  Look at the red quadrilateral on the left.  It is a trapezoid because it has one set of parallel sides.  YET, students rarely see this kind except on those math tests that COUNT!  Why?  Because those trapezoids (and test writers) are out to "get" your students.  So think about it.  Are the trapezoids in your classroom trying to "trap" your students or can your students recognize a trapezoid even if it doesn't have symmetry? 


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1 comment:

Krista Mahan Teaching Momster said...

You are so right about trapezoids! We (teachers) tend to only show the 1 kind in class, but they need to realize that trapezoids come in many different forms! Thanks for linking up!

Krista
Teaching Momster