Explaining Shape Attributes

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SWBAT explain shape attributes.

Big Idea

Students explain shape attributes using written explanations.


10 minutes

I start class by handing out white boards and white board markers to every student.

I go through the following questions and have students draw (or write) the correct answer on their board.  I make sure that after each question, students are articulating WHY they drew each shape.

1)   I am a shape who has three angles and three sides.  Who am I?

2)   I am a shape that has four equal sides.  Who am I?

3)   I am a shape that has two sets of parallel lines.  Who am I?  (this could be multiple shapes, as long as students can justify their answer square, rectangle, and parallelogram are all correct )

4)   I am a shape that has no sides and no vertices.  Who am I?

5)   I am a side that has six sides and six angles.  Who am I? 

Introduction to New Material

10 minutes

We are going to work on a problem of the day on our white boards. 

Problem of the day:

Jerry and Jinaki are drawing shapes.  Their teacher asks them to draw a rectangle.  Jerry draws shape A and Jinaki draws shape B.  Who is correct?  How do you know?

 Shape A                                                                                Shape B

I allow students 3-5 minutes to work on their response.  As they work, I circulate to determine student understanding and HOW students are explaining that shape B is incorrect.

When finished, we discuss why shape B is incorrect (it only has three sides and three angles).

Then post a criteria for success on the board:

Our geometrical explanations include:

__A strong topic sentence (I know shape B is not a rectangle because…)

__Information about shape attributes (sides, side lengths, angles, and vertices).

__WHY (key word: because)

__Correct punctuation and capital letters

After discussing the criteria for success, I have two or three students read their explanations (I chose to pick one high and one low student).  Then, I have students give feedback based on the criteria for success using the following sentence stems: 

I like the way that you...

Next time, remember to...  (include information about shape attributes, include a strong topic sentence, etc.) 

Finally,  I have students  fix their explanations on their white boards using the criteria for success.  Before finishing the introduction to new material, I ask two students read their explanations to the class and allow teammates to give feedback based on the criteria success. 




Guided Practice

10 minutes

Guided practice happens in two parts.

Part 1: Students work independently to answer a question similar to the problem of the day.  They have a criteria for success checklist to help them out.

Part 2: Students meet with a teammate, read that teammate's work and give feedback.  (For maximum impact, I model this process for students).  I have students use this checklist as a guideline for giving feedback.

Using the feedback form gives students practice with giving meaningful feedback, Many students are not able to give valuable feedback without practice--this checklist scaffolds the process and makes the activity more useful for students giving and receiving feedback.  (MP3) 

Independent Practice

10 minutes

During the independent practice, students will work on a written explanation of shape attributes.  They will use the criteria for success to make sure that their explanations are strong.

During this time, I will circulate to support students who are struggling and push students to clarify their work to make it stronger using these guiding questions:

1) How do you know that this shape is a __________?

2) What attributes does this shape have to make you know it is a _______?


5 minutes

I ask students to share out their independent work with a partner and then ask two or three students to share their work with the class.  Have students give each other feedback using the criteria for success and these sentence stems:  “I liked the way that…,”  and “Next time, you should…”