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New Teachers New York:
Lesson Plans by New Teachers, For New Teachers

Teaching Shapes


  1. Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of geometry
  2. Vocabulary terms A. sorting B. grouping C. shape D. size E. color
  3. Knowledge/skill statements

    1. Sorts objects by different attributes       
    2. Groups objects by different attributes
    3. Sorts objects by shape
    4. Sorts objects by size
    5. Sorts objects by color
    6. Groups objects by shape
    7. Groups objects by size
    8. Groups objects by color
    9. Understands that objects can be sorted by their attributes
    10. Understands that objects can be grouped by their attributes


Created by: Audrey Goldstein 
Location: PS 46
Grade: pre-kindergarten
Subject: Math, English

Audrey teaches Pre-Kindergarten in Downtown Brooklyn. She incorporates multiple intelligences and modalities throughout her day by using hands-on learning projects.

If you have any questions regarding this activity, please contact Audrey.

Children will become familiar with various two- and three-dimensional shapes.

To use sensory learning to incorporate hands-on shape identification

Two- dimensional shape names such as:

  • straight line across
  • straight line down/up
  • curve
  • round
  • angle

Three-dimensional shape names such as:

  • rectangular prism
  • cylinder
  • pyramid
  • sphere
  • rectangular prism
  • cone
  • cube (for advanced lesson)


  1. Tape down large shapes on rug, one or two per day each in a different colored tape.
  2. Have ready sorted cereal in bowls (Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Captain Crunch).  (At the beginning of the year, we learned 3-Dimensional shapes. Now we are learning 2-Dimensional shapes.)
  3. Ask children to sit down on their colors during morning meeting.
  4. Ask individual children to walk along each shape.
  5. Hop inside, outside, to a corner.


  1. Give directions, varying them such as, stand on the circle. Jump into a triangle, walk around the diamond. Introduce this game each morning at circle time, adding on a new shape to the rug each day. Identify corners, sides.
  2. Compare/contrast. Chart the differences. (Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence: Movement) and spatial intelligence (Adjusting to the shape size on the rug without bumping into their classmates)
  3. Stand on two corners of a rectangle. Put one foot on a rectangle corner and one hand in the middle of a triangle. Similar to the Twister game.
  4. Musical intelligence: Play Everyday Math song: Shape Hokey Pokey game at the end of the week using tangrams, for example, “You put you square in, …”
  5. Logical-mathematical intelligence: Compare a circle to a sphere. Oval to an ovoid. How are they different? The same?
  6. Shape Hokey Pokey. (Advanced: 3-D shape Hokey Pokey)
  7. Cereal sorting,
  8. Shape Treasure Hunt around the room, building, or outdoors.
  9. Mystery Shape Game (Shapes in a bag. Reach in and guess shape. Blind-fold needed.) Tangrams with Tangram Boards.


  1. Use tangrams with tangram pictures.
  2. Play Mystery Shape Bag, go on a shape treasure hunt around the classroom, in the building.
  3. Cereal shape sorting at center time. Reward: Eat up what you sorted correctly or divide equally.
  4. Use tangrams to trace and water color the shape pictures.
  5. Use precut shapes to collage a self-portrait.


  1. Prepare a Shape Inventory Checklist for homework. How many rectangle windows, tables, books do you have at home? How many cylinder cups, circle seats, square floor tiles etc.
  2. Walking home. Find a cylinder and draw it. Find a square sign and draw it. How many rectangles do you see?


  1. Use Everyday Math assessment checklists to evaluate what students know now, learned at the beginning of the school year, mid-year, and end-of-year.
  2. On-going assessment informally at meeting time, center time.


Student grouping: Large class instruction at meeting time, small grouping at center time for individualized instruction.

Overall Value

Using movement, music for hands-on learning. Using food for sorting, rewards.

Teacher Tips

Find Shape books, refer to objects in the room by their proper shape name, use block play to find a square prism, rectangular prism etc. Use food for shape sorting.


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