The Greedy Triangle: Preschool Lesson Plan & Activities

Materials Needed

  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
  • Blank paper divided into four sections
  • Pencils
  • Large chart paper
  • Markers
  • The Shape Family song by Dr. Jean
  • Pre-cut shapes out of construction paper
  • Plain paper
  • Glue sticks


Begin the lesson by asking the students what moods are. Explain that moods are how we feel and that greedy can be a mood. Ask the students to tell you what greedy means. Explain that greedy is wanting things for yourself and not sharing with others.

Next, read The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. When you have finished, ask the children comprehension questions about the story. Some possible questions are:

  • What was the triangle’s favorite thing to be as a triangle? A square? A pentagon? etc.
  • Why did he want to change his shape?
  • Why does the author think the triangle is being greedy?

Next, tell the students that there are shapes in your room, but their mood is shy. Talk about what shy means. Then tell them that the shy shapes are hiding, and they need to help find them. Give each of the students a piece of paper divided into 4 parts. Have each part labeled with the name of a different shape. The most common choices are circle, square, triangle, and rectangle. Explain that they will be going on a shape hunt to find the shy shapes. When they see something in the room that is one of those shapes, they should draw a picture of the object in the correct box on their paper. It is up to the individual teacher to decide how many of each shape they will need to find.

Once the class has finished their shape hunt, tell the students that the shapes have changed moods since they found them. They are now feeling excited. If necessary, discuss with the students what excited means. Explain that now that the shapes are excited, they cannot wait to meet the class. You will need four large pieces of chart paper (one for each shape.) Ask the students to tell you about some of the shapes they found and where they belong. Draw each one (or list the locations) on the appropriate paper. You may need to ask questions or point out more shapes to get a variety of examples.

Tell the students that the shapes loved meeting them, and now they want to introduce themselves to the students. This is a great time to introduce The Shape Song by Dr. Jean. This song personifies each shape as a member of a family and gives an example of what the shape can be. You can order the CD on Dr. Jean’s website at The song is located on the Sing to Learn CD. You can also print the words on chart paper with pictures. The students will love shape songs, and you can even add your own motions!

Lastly, finish the lesson with a fun preschool triangle craft for your students! Give each student a blank piece of paper and a group of pre-cut shapes. Ask the students to use the shapes to create a picture on their paper. They may lay the picture out on the paper before gluing it down. It is fun to see how creative they can get!

Extending It

This lesson will make a great single lesson on shapes and moods. However, this lesson could also be used to introduce a new unit on shapes or exploration of moods and feelings. Dr. Jean’s website offers more songs about shapes. Other great books about shapes include:

  • Brown Rabbit’s Shape Book by Alan Baker
  • Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • When a Line Bends… A Shape Begins by Rhonda Growler Greene and James Kaczman