Riddle Me This

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SWBAT generate shape riddles that give key attributes of shapes.

Big Idea

Students apply what they know about shapes to this fun writing activity!

Objective & Hook

5 minutes

CCSS Context:

This lesson is aligned to 1GA1, which asks students to distinguish between defining attributes (ex-number of sides) and non-defining attributes (ex-orientation, color, etc) as well as build and draw shapes based on given attributes.. Students practice describing shapes in this lesson using defining attributes, while also practicing the 2nd half of the standard, where they draw a shape based on the "riddle".

Review past learning:

Yesterday we used shape attributes to figure out how to sort shapes into groups. Today we are going to use attributes again to help us create a shape.


Connect to the real world:

Understanding shape attributes helps us think about how we can determine a shape. When we really understand something, we can build it and create it.



Today, we are going to use what we know about shape attributes to draw and create a specific shape.  We are going to answer shape riddles to see if we can figure out what shape we are describing.

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

While we are practicing drawing and creating a given shape, we need to think about the attributes of that shape. 

"If I told you to draw a triangle, you wouldn't just start scribbling away on your paper, you would have to think about what you know about the way a triangle looks.  Let me refer to my anchor chart.  I see here that a triangle has 3 straight sides and 3 corners.  Now that I reviewed the attributes of a triangle, I can draw it." 

Students "sky write" a triangle with their fingers in the air.

Guiding Questions:

  • Now, you know I like to be tricky.   What if I told you to draw a shape with a curved closed line?  What shape would you draw?  How did you know that?
  • What if I told you to draw a shape with 4 straight sides and 4 corners?  
  • Now this is tricky-is there only one shape you could draw? What are all the shapes that fit that rule? 

I'll have one student come up with a white board to try to draw one of my shapes!

Student Game Time

15 minutes

Game Directions:

  1. Partner 1 draws a card.
  2. Partner 2 holds the marker and the white board. Partner 2 turns around so they can’t see the other person.
  3. Partner 1 describes the shapes using attributes.
  4. Partner 2 draws that shape. When they are done, they check to see if they drew the shape correctly.


Model giving appropriate clues:

“I wouldn’t say, “Draw a triangle”-that makes it too easy. I have to give them clues. I might say, “This shape has only straight sides.” Would that tell them enough? Would they know which shape it is yet? No. Let’s give them another clue. “It has 3 corners”.

Practice giving clues:

I'll hold up a variety of shape cards and ask students to volunteer possible clues for those shape cards. We will specifically focus on making sure we don't use the shape name!

Game Time: 

Students play game with shape cards in envelopes for 7-10 minutes. I’ll circulate to push students on using attribute language in their clues. CCSS focuses on using academic language, so I want student using the terms we have been practicing to describe these shapes. This is also aligned to MP6, Attend to precision. Students use precise language when describing the shapes in their riddles. For example, they have to say the number of sides, corners/angles, whether the shape is straight or curved, etc.

See attached documents for shape cards!

Share out: I'll share 1 student’s clues for describing a shape and have the class draw it on their whiteboards.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students create a flapbook. They record at least 2 clues on the top and glue their shape of choice underneath. This activity focuses heavily on writing, which is aligned to the CCSS vision for writing across the curriculum.

Group A: Intervention

If needed, teacher can generate clues for these students and students can determine which shapes match the description.


Group B: Right on Track

Students do activity as planned. If they finish early, they can start a new flapbook.


Group C: Extension

Students choose 1 irregular shape card. These students are being pushed to include comparative language, such as “The bottom line is longer than the other 2 lines”. 


See attached documents for independent practice!



5 minutes

Students share their flapbooks with a partner and see if their partners can answer the riddle. 

See attached Guess my Shape!.MOV video of a student sharing her flapbook with me for an example!