This activity will give the students opportunity to identify both abstract drawings of geometric solids and realistic shapes in the environment.
- Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes, by Roseanne Thong; ISBN 978-0439318327
- Looking at Shapes, by Dr. Shirley Tucker and Jane Rambo; ISBN 978-0736812849
- Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres, by Tana Hoban; ISBN 978-0688153250
- Shapes, Shapes, Shapes, by Tana Hoban; ISBN 978-0688147402
- So Many Circles, So Many Squares, by Taba Hoban; ISBN 978-0688151652
- Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes, by Stuart Murphy; ISBN 978-0064467315
Background for Teachers
This activity will give the students opportunity to think
mathematically and bridge from abstract drawings of geometric solids
to realistic shapes in the environment. Students can display their
knowledge of shape recognition using photographs. The students will
deepen their understanding of geometric solids by writing a sentence
about the geometric shape located in their photograph. Students
will be given an opportunity to sort geometric solids and apply their
understanding of skip counting by counting the solids after the sort is
Intended Learning Outcomes
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Read the book Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes. This
book becomes a discovery experience for things round, square and
rectangular. Most of the objects are Asian in origin. A short glossary
provides a cultural connection to the objects shown in the book.
Shape Field Trip
- Take a Shape Field Trip around the school or around the
- Give each pair of students a Shape Locator Card to assist in
their location of shapes.
- Students will raise the card when they have located a picture
they want to photograph.
- Students must be able to name the object and the geometric
figure it represents.
- Take a picture of the object using a disposable or digital
- Print out the pictures on individual papers for each student
to write a sentence describing the object and the geometric
figure it represents. (e.g., The flag in Mrs. Smiths class is in
the shape of a rectangle. or The stop sign at the corner is in
the shape of a hexagon.)
- Compile the pictures to make a classroom book or type the
students sentences in a Word Processing Program to make a
slide show presentation that can be linked to your schools web
- In a math center invite students to sort the tub of geometric
figures by placing 10 matching shapes in each tackle box.
- Ask the students to tell you how many shapes there are in all.
- Guide their understanding of skip counting to count by tens for
each box that is filled.
- Next, the students will sort the shapes by placing five matching
shapes in each tackle box.
- Guide them to skip count by fives to obtain the answer.
- Ask them to compare which method of counting was longer,
shorter, faster, slower, etc.
- Encourage them to find other ways to count the shapes (e.g.,
counting by ones or twos).
- Students can create their own matching exercises using the
pictures they took on the Shape Field Trip and matching them
to the sentences they wrote.
- After sorting the geometric figures, students can match the
correct vocabulary word card with the corresponding box of
- Send home a copy of the Shape Locator and ask students to
locate objects at home that can be brought to school (e.g., a
cereal box represents a rectangular prism and a can of soup
represents a cylinder).
- Students can match the vocabulary/word cards and pictures at
home for further practice.
- The shapes the students locate and photograph on the Shape
Field Trip and the sentences the students write for their
classroom book can be used to assess student understanding of
basic geometric figures.
- Distribute the Shape Matching Exercise that requires students
to match meanings to words (e.g., match the pyramid to the
sentence that describes it).
National Research Council. (2002). Helping Children Learn Mathematics. Mathematics
Learning Study committee, J. Kilpatrick and J. Swafford, Editors. Center for Education,
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, p. 26.
This study outlines the five strands of mathematical proficiency.
Proficiency is much more likely to develop when a mathematics
classroom is a community of learners rather than isolated individuals.
Questioning and discussion that encourages students thinking
and problem solving strategies lead to greater understanding of
mathematical concepts and ideas.
Blachowicz, C. & Fisher, P. J., (2006). Teaching Vocabulary in All Classrooms, p. 102.
This book suggests that one of the easiest ways to review new
words for familiar concepts is with exercises that require students to
match meanings to words.