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First Grade Geometry Lesson: Identifying & Using Shapes

written by: Pamela Martin • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 9/11/2012

Introduce geometry to your first grade students with a quick review of shapes and their attributes, as they locate the shapes in real objects around the classroom, then move on to art and writing experiences to expand and reinforce their knowledge.

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    Exploring Geometry Concepts

    For primary students, geometry lessons are perhaps the easiest to relate to the world outside the classroom. With these geometry activities for first grade, you can draw the connections in a fun, creative way, while reinforcing the simple concepts of circle, triangle, square, and rectangle.

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    Objectives

    • Students will recognize circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles and identify their distinguishing attributes, including the number of sides, relationship of length and width, and other characteristics.
    • Students will apply their knowledge by locating shapes in the real world objects around them.
    • Students will use their understanding of shapes in art and writing.
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    Group Practice

    • Review shapes and their identifying attributes.

    Hold up a tagboard triangle, and ask students to name it. Ask students to explain what makes it a triangle (three sides, etc.) Repeat the process with a square, rectangle, and circle.

    • If students are still struggling with the basic shapes, let them “build" them with toothpicks and gum drops. Other students may combine their basic models to build houses, spaceships, or other designs to practice using the shapes.
    • In small groups (three to four children), ask students to list examples of each shape that they can see in the classroom. For example, they might identify a clock as a circle or a window as a rectangle.
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    Individual/Paired Practice

    • Provide a variety of plain or printed papers. Students should cut out shapes and combine them to create a picture. For those who have a hard time getting started, show them a tree made from a triangle and a thin rectangle or a house made from a square and a triangle. Students’ picture should include at least one of each of the four shapes.
    • In pairs, students write shaped poems by listing the words from the small groups, writing them around the outline of that shape.
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    Assessment

    As students share their pictures and poems, ask them to name the shapes and explain how they identified each one (number of sides, length of sides, etc.)

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    Extension Activities

    • Students may use the lists from the small groups to write descriptive acrostic poems that include the attributes of each shape or the found objects that include the shape. Carry the theme a little farther by having them encase the first letter of each line in a decorated shape to match the poem. They may also illustrate their poems with pictures made up of their chosen shapes.

    Same-sized sides

    Quick to draw the four lines

    Used for tables and tiles

    All around me, in my

    Rice Chex cereal, a great

    Example of the shape.

    • Use the same activities to introduce other shapes, including hexagons, pentagons, and three-dimensional shapes like cones, cylinders, and prisms.
    • Tie your math lesson to science class by having students look at pictures of the constellations and pick out various shapes.
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    With these fun activities, your class will be geometry geniuses in no time at all.

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    Resources

    • Students may practice identifying the shapes with a simple game at http://www.gpb.org/countonit/games/first/geometry
    • Apples4theTeacher, at http://www.apples4theteacher.com/math.html#geometrygames, offers a number of geometry practice games.

    Ideas for the lessons come from the author's 20 years of teaching experience.

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