“You’re getting pretty good at shapes,” I say, “Today, we’re gonna talk about a TRICKY shape!” I announce.
Students look interested… concerned, even. I announce loudly, “TRIANGLES!”
Of course, even the students who really aren’t that solid identifying triangles protest. “Triangles are easy!” or “Triangles don’t trick me!” they announce.
We sing our Shape Song—to the verse where we get to triangles.
“Hold it right there!” I exclaim. “Tell me… what’s special about a triangle?”
Students basically repeat the song, particularly the 3 sides and the 3 points.
“Let’s make triangles!” I announce.
I show students how to put “just a dot—not a lot! A little dab of glue will do!” on the ends of craft sticks to create a Craft Stick Triangle. We all build craft stick triangles and write names on the completed triangles.
I check that we don’t have too much (or too little) glue as I pick up their completed triangles and move them over to dry. If the sticks are not placed in the shape of a triangle, I try to “help” the ends meet up. (It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try!)
We transition to the Triangle Worksheet and model tracing the triangle on the left with the document camera. We talk about things that are shaped like triangles, and it seems that the students are most excited about pieces of pizza being shaped like triangles. I am not surprised when over 85% of students draw their version of a pizza piece.
We write the number of sides and the number of corners, and I have my yellow marker ready to help write 3’s for students to trace if they need a little more support.
Students complete the bottom portion of the triangle page independently, coloring the items that are shaped like triangles. This provides time to support students who are struggling.
On a separate table, “Triangle” play dough mats and play dough are available for fast finishers. Students know to roll the play dough into “snakes” to form triangles. I like to use the small party size containers of play dough because it limits the amount of play dough a student can use at any given time, and because it allows for the opportunity to switch colors if a student completes a circle with one color of play dough.
After most students finish the triangle page, I gather students in our meeting spot. We discuss triangles, including the number of sides and corners. I attempt to describe a rectangle, but at least some students “set me straight.”
Students show examples of their drawings of real-world objects shaped like triangles. Basically, it becomes a parade of pepperoni pizza pictures, but the students are thrilled to see their work. I repeatedly ask questions about the number of sides and corners.
We sing the triangle section of the Shape Song to wrap up the lesson.