Quadrilateral Properties & Attributes

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SWBAT sort a variety of quadrilaterals to develop the hierarchy for quadrilaterals using properties and attributes.

Big Idea

Students explore quadrilaterals to develop an understanding of the hierarchy for categorizing.


10 minutes

To warm the students up for this lesson, I split the class into two groups.  Each group is given a deck of I Have. Who Has? Game Cards.  The students sit in a circle and take turns reading the "I Have" statement, and then the "Who Has?" statement. For example, a student would say, "I have a ray." Then as, "Who has the term for a quadrilateral with 4 equal sides?"

Students have to carefully listen to the definitions to determine if they are holding the card that comes next in the game sequence.  This is not only a rich vocabulary activity, it also is a good warm up for classifying quadrilaterals because it helps students understand the importance of being precise in their language (MP6 - Attend to precision). 

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Using the Classifying Quadrilaterals practice, together we work through the handout focusing on each type of quadrilateral (moving down the columns).  As we work with each of the different quadrilateral definitions, we test these using "Interactive Quadrilaterals" from the website Math is Fun.

 Despite how each example is manipulated, the attributes described in the definition are always true. For example: a student describes a parallelogram as a quadrilateral with 2 sets of parallel lines

I select parallelogram and then manipulate the shape by dragging one corner to make a side longer or shorter.  No matter what I do to try and change the shape, 2 sets of lines always remain parallel.  I can change the size of the angles, I can change the length of the sides.  I can rotate the shape.  But I can not change the 2 sets of parallel lines.


10 minutes

A variety of quadrilaterals are projected on the board and students are given a copy of Guess My Rule Shapes as a handout. Using these shapes, students work in pairs to play Guess My Rule.

Guess My Rule

Player 1 chooses a type of quadrilateral (rectangle) then lists all of the quadrilaterals (by number) that fit this description. 

Player 2 determines which type of quadrilateral player 1 is thinking of, based on the attributes of the shapes that were identified. 

Player 1 and 2 check to make sure that all shapes fit the rule and also that no shapes were missing. 

After about 10 minutes, students share, with the whole group, any interesting conversations that came from this experience. 

Mathematical Practice 3 - Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others is being addressed in this activity. Students are using concrete referents to describe attributes, in a social learning environment wherein their peers utilize this information to make their selection. After partner play, the entire math community share. This practice continues to refine students' mathematical communication skills. "Speaking" math is a critical step in the development of "writing to explain" in math.


10 minutes

I use a Learn Zillion video, Classify quadrilaterals in a hierarchy, to wrap up our discussion about different quadrilaterals and their attributes.  I like this video because it is informative and clear.  It also provides the students with a nice visual graphic organizer about the hierarchy of classifying shapes.  

 This video requires an account to access, but the site is free.