Building with Shapes

5 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use defining attributes to build and illustrate different shapes.

Big Idea

I love blending art and math. I want my students to develop a depth of knowledge for 2D plane shapes and distinguish polygon from non-polygon shapes.

Rev Them Up

5 minutes

I will be reading Shapes That Roll by Karen Nagel to my class today to get them thinking about shapes. I will discuss our shape vocabulary terms and use this book as a review for; vertex, vertices, edge, sides, and polygon. 

Group Interaction

10 minutes

The read aloud in the Rev Them Up will spill over into our whole group interaction time. My focus for our discussion is:

  • Triangles have 3 sides and 3 vertices.
  • Circles have 0 sides and 0 vertices.
  • Rectangles have 4 sides and 4 vertices.
  • Squares are a type of rectangle that has 4 equal sides and 4 vertices that form equal angles.
  • Pentagons have 5 sides and 5 vertices; and "pent" means 5.
  • Colors and size do not matter. The defining attributes (edges and vertices) of the shape do.
  • A polygon is any shape that is closed, has straight lines and is on a flat plane. We will discuss which shapes qualify as a polygon. Make sure to watch the video in the resource section of our discussion.

I will be asking numerous questions throughout our read aloud that will continue during our whole group discussion to get my students talking about shapes.

  • What shapes have we seen in the book? (circles, triangles, rectangles, squares, pentagons)
  • How many vertices did the triangle have? (3)
  • How many sides did the rectangle have?(4)
  • Is a circle a polygon? Why or why not? (No, because it does not have straight sides.)
  • If this shape is purple and this other shape is purple, does that make them both the same shape? (No, because one is a circle and the other is a square, the color doesn't matter.)

Independent Practice

15 minutes

I want my students to identify which shapes are polygons and which are not by building plane shapes using Qtips. The Common Core Standards were created to ensure that standards are taught in a sequential manner. The first grade standard 1.G.A.1 wants my students to build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes. By mastering this standard my students will be ready in second grade to tackle drawing shapes with certain numbers of faces or vertices.

For today's lesson, we will discuss a circle, triangle, rectangle, heart, square, and pentagon. I will instruct my students to pick three polygons, create them, and label them by their shape name. Check out these amazing students productions; 12345.  I love what they came up with and was so impressed with the stars. I will lead my students to the idea that we cannot build a shape with curved lines with a qtip because it is naturally straight. It forces them to only construct polygons. Also, it allows them to build their math practices because they get the opportunity to reason abstractly. I want them to see these images in their mind and be able to make reasonable assumptions according to the defining attributes of 2D shapes. (MP2, 1.G.A.1).


5 minutes

It's time to finalize the lesson and give my students a chance to summarize what they have learned for the day. I am going to ask them to stand up and move around the room while I count to 3. When I stop at 3 they must stop at the closest person to them and tell them 2 things:

  • Name a polygon they built today.
  • What shape is not a polygon? How do you know?