Lesson Plan Guide

Georgia Learning Connections

by Teresa Cox


INTRODUCTION TO GEOMETER’S SKETCHPAD                             


This lesson plan is an introduction to Geometer’s Sketchpad software.  Great for middle school students, it can also be used for high school students who have just stared a Geometry class.  The activities given in this lesson allow the students to use the most common tools of the software so they can do future labs. This lab was developed by Mike Riedy and reproduced from Drexel University, copyright 2004 by The Math Forum @ Drexel (http://mathforum.org/). (All rights reserved.)


Primary Learning Outcome:

The student will become familiar with the tools of GSP (Geometer’s Sketchpad) and be able to move forward to do other geometry labs involving the software.


Additional Learning Outcomes:

They will be exposed to the principle that a triangle’s interior angles add up to 180o.


Assessed QCC:


Topic: Problem Solving, Visualizing, Reasoning

Standard: Solves problems and practical applications using appropriate approaches and tools (including calculators and computers) and judges the reasonableness of results.


Topic: Problem Solving, Visualizing, Reasoning

Standard: Uses formal and/or informal logical reasoning processes.


Topic: Points, Lines, and Planes

Standard: Identifies, describes, and contrasts points, lines, planes, segments, and rays.


Topic: Perimeter, Area, and Volume

Standard: Finds the perimeter of polygons, the circumference of circles, and arc lengths.


Non-Assessed QCC:


Topic: Points, Lines, and Planes

Standard: States and applies the triangle sum, exterior angles, and polygon angle sum theorems.



Total Duration:

The lesson will take approximately 2 – 2.5 hours and is best if split into at least 2 visits to the computer lab. Students can work at their own pace, but can stop at certain checkpoints (i.e., teacher notifications) to allow some to help others with the computer work.


Materials and Equipment:

Each student will need a copy of the “The Geometer's Sketchpad Introductory Lab”, an answer sheet and a writing utensil. At least 3 pieces of paper will be needed by each student to print out their work (on a local or network printer).


Technology Connection: 

Geometer’s Sketchpad should be on each student computer and a printer should be available.



Step One

If possible, the teacher can demonstrate GSP in the classroom first before moving to the computer lab. The teacher should describe the GSP icon and how to find it on the computer (using the “Start” button on the desktop menu) if the icon is not on the desktop. The teacher can point out the similarity of GSP’s menu with other computer programs such as Word, PowerPoint, or Publisher that the students might have used in other classes. This eases some student’s fear of learning new “stuff”.

Estimated Time:   10-15 minutes


Step Two

Then move the students to the computer lab (if not already there) and hand out the Introductory Lab and an answer sheet to each student as they sign on to a computer.

Estimated Time:   10-15 minutes (shorter if already in the computer lab)


Step Three

Have the students start on the introductory lab, answering the questions as they go on the answer sheet.  If the students use the answer sheet, it allows the teacher to use the lab repeatedly with other classes without making additional copies.

Estimated Time:   2 – 2.5 hours


Lesson Materials Attached:

Title: GSPActivity1 – This is the 8-page instruction sheet for the student.

Title:  GSPAcitivty1AnswerSheet – Filled out by the students


Web Links:

If you like this activity, search The Math Forum @ Drexel (http://mathforum.org/) for more activities, several by Mike Riedy. The Math Forum is an excellent web site for mathematical how-tos, history and questions by students as well as resources for math teachers.

A second excellent source would be the Intermath web site at www.intermath-uga.gatech.edu/ . Again, many activities are available for students to pursue.



The answer sheet can be graded as an activity or daily grade.  No answer key is attached, as the teacher should do the lesson themselves to ensure familiarity with the software and the outcomes the student should get.



Once students are familiar with the software, many geometry activities are available in geometry books and on the internet (see links above) for students to explore.



For those students that are not computer-savvy, have special needs or IEPs, the introductory lab could be divided into several pieces (for example, one tool button at a time) and each could be teacher-led.