Building Shapes- Review of 2D Shapes

6 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to build shapes and describe their similarities, differences, parts and other attributes.

Big Idea

What do students love more than building? Building with marshmallows! In this lesson, students get to build shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start each math lesson with a Problem of the Day.  I use the procedures outlined here on Problem of the Day Procedures.

Today's Problem of the Day:

Name this shape.  Circle the shapes that match.  Find additional examples in the classroom.

I have several students come up and work on this problem.  I have one student name the shape and three students circle matching shapes.  I then call on 2 or 3 students to find the additional examples in the classroom.  This problem helps students practice naming shapes.  If time allows, I also have students practice describing the attributes of a rectangle.

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I start this lesson by showing students a bag of marshmallows and a box of toothpicks and asking what they think we are going to do today.  Some students may have an idea if they attended a pre-kindergarten or daycare program that used these materials for building.  I show the students how to use marshmallows and a toothpick to create a line and how we can use them to build. 

I send students back to their seats where there is a plate of marshmallows and toothpicks waiting for them.  There is also a colored sheet of construction paper in front of each student.  I tell students to put their name on their construction paper and then put their pencil away and put their hands on their heads to wait for directions. 

I am going to give you some time to build shapes on your own.  We are going to start by all building the same shape, and then you will have time to build other shapes.  I would like everyone to start by building a square. 

I walk around and help make sure that each student is able to make a square.  Then I ask them to make a triangle and then a rectangle.  When a student has made all three shapes, I tell them that they make choose one additional shape to make.  When all of their shapes are done, they lay them on their construction paper and raise their hand.  Check out how to build basic shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks.

When several students have finished, I have all students stop and put their hands on their head.  I put the Building Shapes Worksheet  on the SMART Board and show students how to complete one page for each shape that they made.  They need to draw the shape, write its name, write the number of sides and the number of corners.  I write the names of all of the shapes we have learned and several others that the students know from our pattern blocks or books we've read on the board.

When students are finished, I tell them they can put their paper in the basket and get their center.  I collect their construction paper mats and slide them into a bags so that students can take their creations home.


20 minutes

The centers for this week are:

Shape Monster Book (
My Shape Flip Book (
Building Shapes (Teacher Made Resource, craft sticks, fruit loops, noodles and drinking straws )
Shapes - Lakeshore Instant Learning Center
Shapes Adventures SMARTBoard
- Lakeshore Interactive Activity

I quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull three groups during centers and work with them depending on the time they need (5 - 10 minutes).

I do not pull groups today because it takes time to get the students' creations into bags and in a safe place where they can stay until the end of the day.

Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats. This is a paid resource, but there are many free examples of transition songs easily found in a web search.


5 minutes

To close, I place several students' papers on the document camera and project them on the SMART Board.  I have the student show the shape they made and describe it.  I pick students who created different shapes so that we get to see a variety.  I mention positive things noticed during centers as well as something that needs to be better next time. 

I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we built shapes using marshmallows and toothpicks.  Tomorrow we are going to look at another way to create shapes."