Power Block Ideas for Teachers
What is so special about Power Blocks?
For students of any age using geoboards in their classrooms, Power
Blocks offer geoboard readiness experiences. Nearly all the square, rectangular,
parallelogram and trapezoidal shapes that can be represented with rubber
bands on a geoboard can first be manipulated and explored concretely
with Power Blocks. Any shape bounded by the nails of a geoboard can be
made with Power Blocks, and once made, explored more easily and more
thoroughly. Power Blocks compare to geoboards as beans and cups for teaching
place value compare to number problems written on a page.
Generally, elementary school students have little or no experience
offering mathematical proofs, and little practice with the logical thinking involved.
The tangram lessons in Mathematics a Way of Thinking are designed
to introduced the notion of direct and indirect proofs to children in
the intermediate grades. Power Blocks extend the proving powers
and logical thinking exercises of tangrams through all grades.
Students exploring Power Blocks learn fraction concepts naturally.
Geometric and algebraic understand flow from the materials as well.
Tiles for presenting number concepts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
are a part of each set. And, of course, several sets of the tangrams
that inspired the Power Blocks themselves are contained within each set.
Can I order Power Blocks?
The Center authored the books Mathematics Their Way and Mathematics
a Way of Thinking to assist teachers in presenting mathematics to their
students in ways that would facilitate understanding. The Center created
Power Blocks with the same goal in mind. However, whereas the Center
was able to find a publisher for its two books, it has not yet been
able to find a company ready to manufacture and distribute Power Blocks.
The Power Blocks distributed in the past were part of the sets the Center
had manufactured to test their effectiveness in the classroom. However,
the Center is not a publisher and does not have the resources to manufacture
and distribute Power Blocks on its own. When the Center finds a company
to manufacture and distribute the Power Blocks we will let you know.
Until that time, though, additional sets of Power Blocks will not be available.
I have a set of Power Blocks. Where can I find suggestions for how to use them with my class?
The downloadable (free) Patterns and Connections manuscript can be
accessed from the Home page of the Center’s website. It contains a sample
Power Block lesson in Chapter 15, part 1. The lesson begins on page 388
and is called "One question...". The chapters are downloadable
individually, so you do not have to download the first 387 pages
to read the lesson. There are references to Power Blocks throughout the manuscript.
Unfortunately, however, there is not yet an index to guide you to
The link below will lead you to a downloadable copy (also free) of
the book Power Block Ideas for Teachers. There are also two
sample pages of questions included that you may use to lead your students
in exploring the Power Blocks. The sample pages of questions have more
teachers or parents using them first read the Power Block lesson in
the Patterns and Connections manuscript mentioned above.
Teachers have also been exchanging ideas for using Power Blocks on
the Center's forum on this website.
I have a set of Power Blocks that I am not using any more. Is there an after-market for the Blocks?
If you wish to sell your set, there is always the eBay option--http://www.ebay.com.
If you wish to donate your Power Blocks to teachers anxious to share
the Power Block experience with their students, the Center has been
sending the few sets it has received from retired teachers to schools
in both the United States and India. The reason for donating to schools
the U.S. is obvious. The reason for donating to schools in India is
less so. While we have not yet been able to find a company in the United
States ready to manufacture the sets, there are companies in India
contemplating doing so. Sending sets to India permits potential manufacturers
see the Power Blocks in use. If an Indian manufacturer can be found,
the Power Blocks will then become available for students everywhere.
If you wish to donate a no longer used (and hopefully in tact) set,
you may write the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org for donating instructions.
Power Block Ideas for Teachers