The Delicious World of Squares and Rectangles

30 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to describe characteristics of squares and rectangles and classify real world items as either shape.

Big Idea

The identification of geometric shapes is an important kindergarten math skill. This math lesson allows students to see that shapes are all around us, even in our food!


7 minutes

For this section of the lesson, you will need the Square and Rectangle Sorting Cards included as a PDF.  You will need two sets of the cards.   I print the cards in color and laminate them for durability so they can be used multiple times.  Count out sets of cards so every student has a card that partners with another card.  You will not need to use all of the cards.  I included extras so the cards could be used for other activities, stations, etc. 

I like to create excitement for the lesson by getting the students up and moving and interacting with each other.  Each student is given a card.  After the cards are distributed, I tell the students to get up from their seats and circulate around the room until they find the student who has the same card as theirs.  I allow the students time to move around the room and when everyone has their partner, I then tell them, Now I want you to look at the color trim on your card.  I want you to get into a group with all the students whose card is the same color as yours.

The students circulate around the room until they form two large groups.  One group has red trim on their cards and the other group has blue trim.  After they are in their groups, I ask them this question, I want you to look at everyone's cards.  What do you notice about all the cards in your group?  Of course, the red cards all have squares on them and the blue cards all have rectangles.  If the students don't notice this immediately, I ask the question, What do you notice about the shape of all the things are your cards? 

Once the students tell me their group members' cards are all squares or all rectangles, I tell them, That's right!  And today we are going to have a lot of fun learning all about rectangles and squares.

We then move over to the SmartBoard to continue our lesson.


15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SmartBoard.  If you have a SmartBoard, the file Square and Rectangle Smartboard can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.  Click here to access them:  Square and Rectangle Smartboard Notebook Slides.

I gather my students in front of the Smartboard.  I have cards with each student's name printed on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SmartBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques (Click here to learn more about SIOP). I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can identify the characteristics of rectangles and squares and identify a shape as a square or rectangle.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend if a shape is a square or rectangle and why.

Slide 2: This is a rectangle.

Slide 3:  I know it is a rectangle because it has four sides that are made up of straight lines.  The sides that are opposite each other are the same size or equal.  If you look at the rectangle, you will also see that all the corners are exactly the same too. 

Slide 4:  Is this a rectangle?   Count the number of sides.  It has more than four side so it cannot be a rectangle.

Slide 5: Is this a rectangle?  Why not?  That's right. The sides are not made up of straight lines. 

Slide 6: Is this a rectangle?  Why not?  That's right. The sides are not made up of straight lines.  

Slide 7: Is this a rectangle?   It has four sides made up of straight lines and the opposite sides are why isn't it a rectangle.  Let's look at the corners.  Are all four corners exactly the same?  No..these corners are at the top are not the same as the corners at the bottom. (I choose not to get into the discussion of angles at this point in time...if students are ready I may bring it up in subsequent lessons, but the Common Core Standards do not require that they know this terminology.)

Slide 8:  Now, let's sort some shapes.  If you are called up, you will move a shape.  If it is a rectangle, it will go on this side.  If it is NOT a rectangle, it will go on this side.  I call up students to come up and move a shape.  I have cards that I use to select who will go up so everyone has a fair chance to come up and I do not  inadvertently miss students.  After the students move the shapes, the class checks their work together.  We talk about the characteristics of each shape and why it was put there it was put. 

Slide 9:  This is a square.  Let's look at this shape.  It has four sides.  The opposite sides are equal and the corners are all the same. 

Slide 10:  So if I asked you, Is this a rectangle...what would would you say?  A square is a special kind of rectangle. 

Slide 11:  Let's sort the shapes into squares and other rectangles.  If it is a square, you will put it in this section of the chart.  If it is another kind of rectangle, you will put it in this section.  I again call students up to sort the shapes and we discuss the placement of each one on the chart.

Slide 12:  It is now Turn and Talk Time.  Turn and Talk allows my students to practice their academic language.  It is valuable for all my students, especially those learning English.  The students have assigned Turn and Talk partners.  I ask them to hold hands with their partners and hold their hands in the air so I know that everyone has a partner.  I then ask them, Is this shape a rectangle?  Why or why not?  I give them time to talk to their partner and when it is obvious that they have completed their discussion, I call on a student to share their discussion with the class.  I correct any misconceptions and have students repeat the correct answer.  We say It is not a rectangle because the opposite sides are not equal.

We then move to our seats for guided practice.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson you will need one copy per student of the Square and Rectangle Sorting Mat included as a PDF with this lesson.  You will also need food items for the students to sort that are squares/rectangles.  I gather Cheez Its, graham crackers, Hershey bar pieces, Cub crackers, Triscuits, etc for the students to sort.  I place them individual coffee filters to give the students, but bags, cups, paper plates, etc. work great too.

After having the students wash their hands, I pass out the sorting mats to the students. 

I then tell them, We are going to practice sorting shapes as squares and other rectangles.  This sorting will be a lot of fun because we are working with food.  Now, we can't eat anything until we are all done with our work.  I want you to put all the squares on this side of the mat (pointing) and all the shapes that are other rectangles on this side of the mat (pointing).  

Once the students have begun, I circulate around the room to monitor their work.  I assist students who are having difficulty sorting the items.  Once they have completed their work, I check it and have them put their treats back in the coffee filter as we will be having them for snack after we complete the lesson.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, the students will need the Square and Rectangle Sorting Activity included as a PDF with this lesson. 

I distribute the sheets to the students and have them write their name on the top sheet. I then instruct them to pull off the back sheet.  I explain to them, You will be cutting out the shapes on this sheet and gluing them on the other sheet.  You will sort them.  Shapes that are squares will go here and shapes that are other rectangles will go here.  Please raise your hand to have your work checked before your glue it down.

As the students complete their work, I check it and make note if any students need additional support or practice.  When their work is completed, they place it in their mailbox and enjoy their snack!