After explaining and briefly modeling their "mathematician mission," I give the students each a recording page and wooden pattern blocks. After they have discovered 6 ways to make a hexagon, they use the paper pattern block shapes to glue down their solutions.
Some of them couldn't find 6 ways in the allotted time, and that was just fine.
The kids were shocked when I told them there are actually 8 total ways to make a hexagon using our pattern blocks! As we found each of the 8 ways, we recorded how many of each shape was used in each creation:
This chart leads to great discussion about why the square and rhombus can't ever be used. Even after finding all 8 ways, I had a few students who still insisted it must be possible to use the square and rhombus and tried for another 5 minutes before deciding I must be right. ;) They also had some great discussion about why the triangle was used so often.
While this lesson is part of our curriculum, I owe a huge thank you to Kathryn at Kindergarten Kindergarten for the idea of making the chart! It was an excellent addition to this tried-and-true shape activity!