# Teaching the Types of Triangles with Math Wheel Magic!

Have you noticed how triangles can be a bit of a math maze for our students? I mean, equilateral, isosceles, scalene – it’s like they’ve entered a geometric wonderland without a compass! I have felt this way time and again, so I set out to create a tool to help break down the different types of triangles in a memorable way for my students. I’m excited to share with you my student-approved Types of Triangles Math Wheel Guided Notes! It’s the treasure map your students need to navigate the triangle jungle. With color-coded notes, practice problems scattered around the wheel, and a graphic organizer that breaks down and organizes the different types, you’ll be turning confusion into a full-blown math adventure. Get ready for those “Aha!” moments that turn the triangle saga from puzzling to downright fun!

## What Are Math Doodle Wheels?

I’m standing at the front of my class and all I see are blank stares, math nerves, and a whole bunch of “I’d-rather-be-anywhere-else” vibes. My students were going through the motions of note-taking, but it was clear, the info wasn’t sticking. That’s when the lightbulb moment happened, and Math Doodle Wheels were born!

I wanted notes to be more than just a checkmark on the to-do list. I wanted them to be a trusty sidekick, a go-to guide during units and review sessions.

So, I crafted these wheels where math concepts are broken down into bite-size sections of the wheel, vocab gets its VIP definition moment, and each step is practiced with examples. Plus, there’s space for some extra practice. The secret? We’re color-coding and doodling symbols as we go to help them remember the steps and vocabulary. Suddenly, note-taking became an art, and my kiddos enjoyed it and used these notes as tools.

To learn more about Doodle Wheels and their versatility, check out Transform Your Upper Elementary or Middle School Math Class with this Unique Note-Taking Method!

## How I Teach Types of Triangles

We’re diving headfirst into the world of triangles, and it all begins right at the heart of our Types of Triangles Math Wheel. I gather my students around, and we start chatting about the six main players in the triangle game – equilateral, scalene, acute, obtuse, right, and isosceles. Now, here’s the math magic. No matter how different these triangles are, their angles always add up to 180°. I have my students write that 180° right in the center of our wheel to be a constant reminder.

With the center complete, I kick off the grand tour of the wheel. The first thing we discuss is that there are two ways we can classify triangles. We can classify them by their sides and we can classify them by their angles. To keep this in mind, we tackle the three types of triangles classified by their sides first, then we move on to the three types of triangles classified by angles. With that explanation, we have now taken 6 types of triangles and grouped them into two groups of three and made them a little easier to understand.

### Sections of the Types of Triangles

#### Equilateral Triangle

I explain that this triangle is known for having three equal sides, which we jot down in that section. I draw three hash marks, one on each leg of the triangle, to show that they are equal.

To give them an example of number measurements, I write 6 meters on all three sides. I like starting with equilateral because it’s the least intimidating since all three sides are the same measurements.

#### Scalene Triangle

Now, onto the scalene triangle.

I kind of think of it as the rebel of the triangle crew. It’s the complete opposite of our equilateral triangle because it plays by its own rules with no equal sides.

We fill in the blank in our notes section. Then, it’s example time. I draw my trusty triangle and label it with the following measurements: 5 cm on the short leg, 7 cm on the top leg, and 10 cm on the bottom leg. Why? To show my students how each side has its unique length.

#### Isosceles Triangle

Now, we wrap up our note-taking adventure with the isosceles triangle.

An isosceles triangle is all about the buddy system, boasting two equal sides. In our triangle example, I draw single hash marks on the left and right legs because they’re equal measurements. I label both legs with 4 feet, emphasizing their equal status. Now, I draw two hash marks on the bottom leg, signaling that its measurements are playing solo. I label 6 feet for the bottom leg, driving home the point that it’s not on the equal side with the left and right legs.

#### Acute Triangle

Next up is the acute triangle. I walk my students through jotting down the key detail that all three angles inside an acute triangle are less than 90°.

I draw two examples to show my students a couple of different scenarios they may encounter. In the first triangle, I sketch a curved line at each corner, representing an angle, and drop 60° in each. We add each of the three angles, each at 60°, sum up to 180°, sealing the deal that triangles have a total of 180° inside.

I draw another triangle to explain that acute triangles won’t always have the same angle measurements. In this second one, I draw those curved lines again and jot down 70°, 60°, and 50° in the corners. Quick adding by my eager students confirms the angles total to 180°.

#### Obtuse Triangle

In our next section, we dive into the world of the obtuse triangle.

For a triangle to earn the “obtuse” badge, it needs to boast one obtuse angle, meaning one angle must be greater than 90°.

In my example, I draw an obtuse triangle.

I draw the curved line to represent the angle in the top angle inside the triangle and write 120°.

We talk about how we can check that this is obtuse by noting how it’s a number larger than 90.

#### Right Triangle

We move to the right triangle section.

We review what makes a right angle, which is when a 90° angle is formed at the intersection of two perpendicular lines. I have my students write down that one angle must measure 90°. Then, in the triangle, we practice drawing the square symbol where the two lines intersect to represent 90°.

### What’s Next?

Once we wrap up our note-taking session, it’s time to put our knowledge to the test by tackling the examples scattered around the math doodle wheel.

I pre-select a few examples, modeling to my students my thought process and reasonings for classifying which triangles to which measurements. After a couple of examples, I give the steering wheel to my students. They become the teacher and start leading me through the steps for a few examples. Then, I partner them up to complete the remaining practice examples. I set a timer so we have time to check their answers and talk through their reasoning.

After conquering those practice problems, I give my math enthusiasts a little artistic freedom. They go back into their notes, adding splashes of color and extra symbols to etch the differences between the triangles into their memory. It’s a personal touch that not only triggers those “aha” moments but also makes math feel like a comfortable space. The math doodle wheel isn’t about bombarding them with gibberish and 50 problems. It’s all about breaking the skill into bite-sized chunks, creating a handy reference tool that’ll be their math companion throughout the year!

## More Resources for Types of Triangles

Once I complete notes with my students, I want them to be applying what they have learned. If you don’t use it, you lose it, right? When I am planning practice activities, I want to make sure they are interactive and allow everyone to have a seat at the table. Math anxiety is real! It’s important to be aware of all the emotions your kiddos may be feeling when it comes to math. With that in mind, I have included some types of triangle activities that have students practicing the skills in a collaborative, low-intensity manner.

### Classifying Triangles Footloose Math Task Cards Activity and Math Wheel

An awesome classroom activity I use with my students to review types of triangles and to get them up and moving is my Types of Triangles Footloose cards.

Footloose isn’t just your typical sit-and-listen routine. I hand out these cards, and suddenly, we’re not just classifying triangles by sides and angles.

We take it a step further by finding those missing angles and sides like geometry detectives. Sometimes, alarms go off in my students’ heads when they discover a missing angle.

We pull out our math doodle wheels and remind ourselves that all three angles within a triangle equal the grand number of 180!

I tend to shake up the delivery of the task cards because sometimes I have them posted around the classroom ahead of time. Then they travel around to each card with a partner to solve and record answers on their paper.

With that being said, Footloose isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. You can roll it out for the whole class, turn your class into an interactive experience, use it in small groups, or throw it into center rotations. It’s flexible, it’s fun, and it’s got the whole class moving!

### Triangles Color by Number Activity Missing Angles and Sides

My Triangles Color by Number activity is a low-intensity math activity for different types of angles and missing angles with a dash of color. Students solve problems while turning their answers into masterpieces!

My students tackle 20 problems that dive deep into triangle types. Problems range from finding missing side lengths and angle measures to calculating the perimeter of triangles. Instead of the usual pencil and paper routine, they find their solutions on a coloring sheet/section.

I love using this resource for many reasons, but one of my favorites is that it’s self-checking! If their answer isn’t on the coloring sheet, they know it’s time for a quick math check. It’s instant feedback that we know and love!

Plus, there are both print and digital versions available. I like flexibility, which is the name of the game for us teachers, so I wanted this resource to be flexible for your teaching style.

### Classifying Triangles Math Game | Math Activity | Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare? I choose truth! I’ve got a game-changer for your next class or review session for identifying types of triangles that’s as fun as it is educational.

I’ve crafted 36 question cards that’ll turn your class into a buzz of excitement. It’s not your average Q&A session because this one comes with a “truth” or “dare” twist!

I pull this Truth or Dare activity out for center time when I am working with small groups, will be out of the classroom, or for review sessions. My students love it when they see this activity on the schedule.

Your students dive into a world where they get to choose their fate.

Questions focus on the different triangle types (acute, obtuse, right, isosceles, equilateral, scalene) and essential concepts like the 180 degrees in a triangle.

They earn a 1-point “truth” for those classic true or false questions. If they’re feeling daring, there are “dare” cards worth 2 or 3 points, throwing in some challenges. Think along the lines of finding missing angles or sides, explaining why a triangle is classified a certain way, or even determining if a shape can make the triangle cut based on angle measures or side lengths.

The beauty of this is it’s not just a solo gig. Gather your kiddos in groups of 3-4, and let the game begin. Keep in mind the smaller groups mean more questions tackled by each student, meaning more practice!

## Time to Teach Types of Triangles

Exploring types of triangles with the math doodle wheel makes note-taking into a masterpiece, it’s all about transforming math anxiety into math excitement.

These resources are tools that keep on giving throughout the unit and year. The adventure continues with activities that have your mathematicians applying their skills through interactive activities like Footloose, Color by Number, and Truth or Dare. Get ready to witness “Aha!” moments, foster collaborative learning, and make math a destination worth exploring.

## Save for Later

Remember to save this post to your favorite math Pinterest board so you can quickly come back when you are planning your types of triangles lessons!

## Ellie

### How to Use Math Small Groups in Middle School

Welcome to Cognitive Cardio Math! I’m Ellie, a wife, mom, grandma, and dog ‘mom,’ and I’ve spent just about my whole life in school! With nearly 30 years in education, I’ve taught:

• All subject areas in 4th and 5th grades
• Math, ELA, and science in 6th grade (middle school)

I’ve been creating resources for teachers since 2012 and have worked in the elearning industry for about five years as well!