Lesson: Quadrilaterals and Parallelograms

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT to identify parallelograms and quadrilaterals

Lesson Plan

Building Number Sense (5 minutes)

Skip count circle- have students skip count by 5’s or 10’s, be sure and start from a difficult number, unless your class needs to start at 0. Start at 450 or 785. (To make it even harder start at 781 or 232)

Mental Math Fluency (5 minutes)

“I have a” the goal is to make ten and the teacher says, “I have a 7, so I need a ____” and the student who is up (or two competing students) have to come up with 3.

Problem of the Day  (7 minutes)

Draw a four sided shape.

Share shapes in pairs and then as a class, going over the attributes of each shape and also classifying them by name.

Mini Lesson

(12 minutes)

(The dialogue with “S” can be said by one student who is called on, or better yet, have students pair and share to discuss the answers and hopefully come up with the “S” exemplar answers as pairs)

T: Today we are going to focus on a very large group of shapes which some college students even still get mixed up on. That is the quadrilaterals. What is a quadrilateral?

S: A quadrilateral is any shape that has four sides

T: Correct. So any shape that has four sides is a quadrilateral (refer to shape poster from Day 2 lesson plan). So can anyone tell me a name of a quadrilateral. (Go through each shape and discuss what is unique about them, i.e. a square is a quadrilateral with 4 right angles and all of the sides have equal lengths) (Be sure and spend some extra time on the difference between a rhombus and trapezoid, a rhombus is a parallelogram because each pair of sides are parallel, a trapezoid is not because one of the pairs of sides are not parallel)

T: what about this shape?



Is it a quadrilateral? (Yes because it has four sides)

Is it a parallelogram? (No because, although it has four sides, one of the pair of sides are not parallel)

Is there a name for it other than quadrilateral? (No, it is just called a quadrilateral)

So any shape with 4 sides is a quadrilateral, some of them have names like rhombus or rectangle, but some do not and we just call them quadrilaterals.

T: What could we call this shape?




S: Parallelogram because each pair of sides are parallel and it has four sides. Quadrilateral because it has four sides. Square because it has 4 right angles and all of the sides are equal.

T: What could we call this shape?



S: Trapezoid, because one pair of its lines are parallel, it has four corners (vertices), and four sides. Quadrilateral because it has four sides.

T: Could we call it a parallelogram?

S: No, because two of its sides are not parallel.

Work Time (Zones, Independent, Group 30 minutes)





Create a three circle diagram on the carpet or other large area with tape, hula hoops, or other delineating materials. One circle will be parralelogram, one will be quadrilateral, and one will be square, rectangle, trapezoid, rhombus (have a picture next to each name).













Have students use stencils/shapes to trace quadrilaterals, also have them make some free-hand shapes. Each student should make at least 4 shapes and each needs to be different (i.e. one square, one rectangle, one quadrilateral, and one trapezoid)

After students create shapes bring them to the carpet and have a few model students go first, have them think out loud as to where they are going to place the shapes and why i.e. I am going to put this shape
in the middle space (where all three circles of the venn diagram converge) because it’s two pairs of sides are parrellel and it has four sides, so it is a parallelogram, and it also is a rhombus because it has four sides but not all the vertices are right angles, and it is also a quadrilateral because it has four sides.

Have the class agree or disagree with the student and work with them to place the shape i.e. Who agrees with Tisean? Does anyone think differently? How is she sure it is a quadrilateral? Etc.

After at least two model students go through think alouds, have students get into groups or pairs and find the correct sections of the Venn diagram to place their shapes into. (Circulate between the groups and push into conversations making sure students are using attribute words and mutually discussing shapes)

Some good reflection questions:

Where did we place the trapezoid? Were any shapes placed in only the parallelogram circle (no because if they are a parallelogram they need to also be a quadrilateral/named shape)? Were any shapes placed in only the rhombus/square/trapezoid/rectangle circle? Where did we place the squares (rectangles/rhombi)? Why? What shape went in JUST the quadrilateral circle? (ex:                )



Math Reflection/Share (4 minutes)

(This is a time to share work and discuss critically a problem a student had or explain student work. Also this time can be used to ask a difficult question that takes the concept taught one more level up in bloom’s taxonomy)

Can a shape be a parallelogram but not a quadrilateral? Why or why not? Can a quadrilateral not be a parallelogram? Why or why not?

A shape cannot be a parallelogram and not a quadrilateral because a parallelogram needs to have 4 sides. A shape can be a quadrilateral but not a parallelogram because you could draw a four sided shape without two pairs of parallel lines.

Bonus: draw a shape that is a quadrilateral but not a parallelogram.


1. What went well?


2. What would you change?

3. What needs explanation?

The constant use of quadrilateral, parallelogram, and rhombus/square/trapezoid/rectangle, really helped the students to start differentiating and ingraining the similarities and differences of the three groups.

I would have pre-cut the shapes for this one, free drawing quadrilaterals (with rulers) was a bit tough and overall the cutting and tracing took a lot of time. (This is good for their fine motor and experience of creating shapes but we also created shapes the last two days of our shape unit, so it would have been better to just pre-cut for this day)

Make sure you are very deliberate at the beginning of the lesson to spend a lot of time on each of the vocab words and explicitly look at, touch, and talk about the difference between quadrilateral, parallelogram and how they relate to rectangles, squares, rhombi, and trapezoids.


Lesson Resources

Shape Unit Day 3.doc  


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