Three stencils in one! 15 Shapes stencils.
These shape stencils are designed to meet the following key instructional goals:
• Identifying and naming 15 basic shapes
• Drawing basic shapes of various sizes
• Identifying, sorting, and classifying object by attribute (shape)
I chose this product to review on its claim to be educational. Being a teacher, I rise to that sort of challenge, having seen so many parents conned by the "educational toy" gimmick.
Interesting - the manufacturer claims the stencils meet "key instructional goals" - which aren't relevant in the NZ school Mathematics Curriculum - We work to Standards. So, let's look at the Mathematical Standards relevant to this product.
After one year at school, a pupil should be able to sort objects and shapes by a single feature and describe the feature, using everyday language. As in "Here is a set of shapes. Sort the shapes into families." So a five-six year old could enjoy drawing the solution using the product, but will probably be given a set of geometric shapes to manipulate.
After two years at school, a pupil should be able to sort [given] objects and shapes by different features and describe the features, using mathematical language; as in - no relation to the stencils.
After three years at school, a pupil should be able to sort [given] two-dimensional shapes by their features, identifying categories within categories; as in - no relation to the stencils.
After four years at school, a pupil should be able to sort [given] objects and two- and three-dimensional shapes by two features simultaneously; and represent and describe the symmetries of a shape; as in - no relation to the stencils.
After five years at school, a pupil should be able to sort [given] two-dimensional shapes, considering the presence and/or absence of features simultaneously and justifying the decisions made; as in - no relation to the stencils.
After six years at school, a pupil should be able to sort [given] two-dimensional shapes, considering given properties simultaneously and justifying the decisions made; represent and describe the results of reflection, rotation, and translation on shapes or patterns; as in - no relation to the stencils.
After seven years at school, a pupil should be able to sort [given] two-dimensional shapes into classes, defining properties and justifying the decisions made; identify and describe the transformations that have produced given shapes or patterns; as in - "a) What is a common property of all these shapes? and b) Identify a property that some of the shapes have and sort all the shapes into groups by that property". So, some relevance between the stencils and the curriculum for recording a neat solution.
After eight years at school, a pupil should be able to sort two-dimensional shapes into classes, considering the relationships between the classes and justifying the decisions made; identify and describe the features of shapes or patterns that change or do not change under transformation; as in - Provided with a selection of shapes including squares, rectangles, diamonds, regular hexagons, regular octagons, circles, and equilateral, right-angled, and scalene triangles, the student will explain "Which of these shapes will tessellate and Why?." SO, some relevance to the curriculum as the student could use the template - If they've not learned the attributes of regular shapes. Which they should have by end of Year Six/
However, where the shapes are relevant in the older years, very few children would bother using a stencil to create the drawings for the tasks, as most teachers accept pathetic rough sketches or in fact give the pupils plastic shapes to manipulate. The modern curriculum has given away the art/craft of drawing precise 2-D shapes.
This to me is a pre-schooler's product - educational IF the parent demonstrates and explains as the child uses it. I bought something similar for my three to five year olds, and they'd advance beyond them before starting school. But only because I played with the children rather than leaving them without understanding
This product is great. With the 15 different shapes, and the 3 differents sizes of each shape it gives children lots of practice at not only drawing, but also matching the shapes together. I love the fact that all the shapes are named as it helps the child recognise the name with the shape. My only grumble about the set is having three different sizes per shape, makes it a time consuming effort to put all the shapes back together at the end of the learning session. In saying that, they come in a handy storage box that is easy to cart around, and it also comes with crayons so you don't need to hunt around for something to draw with.
The shapes are made from a strong cardboard, however if left unattended with children, can be easily bent.
All in all, my daughter loves playing with these shapes, and at 27mths old can draw a circle all by helself now. I attribute that to the practice with the Shape Stencils.
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