Naming Shapes

By Kimberly Washington, January 27, 2010

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Mathematics

Lesson Time

290 minutes for classroom activities


This lesson will allow students to memorize names of different geometric shapes by teaching them to a younger class.  This lesson will engage students because it gives them academic freedom of expression.  This lesson is designed as an introduction to geometry dealing with naming shapes.

National Standards


Students will be able to properly name geometric shapes.




  • sticky notes
  • paper
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • crayons
  • rulers
  • fabrics
  • drumsticks
  • wooden craft sticks
  • dry erase markers


  • parallelogram: a quadrilateral with opposite sides parallel and equal
  • polygon:a closed plane figure bounded by straight lines
  • rectangle: a parallelogram all of whose angles are right angles, with adjacent sides of unequal length
  • rhombus: a parallelogram with four equal sides and sometimes one with no right angles
  • right triangle: a triangle where the angle is bounded by two lines perpendicular to each other
  • sphere: a three-dimensional closed surface such that every point on the surface is equidistant from the center
  • trapezoid: a quadrilateral having only two sides parallel


Day 1:  Introduction to New Geometric Terms

(Aim: To introduce new terms to students.)

1. Show students one new vocabulary word at a time.

2. Allow students to express their definition of the word.

3. If the correct definition was not given, give students the correct definition of the word.

4. Have students turn to another student and explain what the word means.

5. Allow students to write down the definition of the word with a picture.

Day 2: Introduce Project Question

(Aim: Students will decide on how to teach younger students to memorized the new vocabulary words.)

1. Introduce the following question to students:  How might we teach the geometric vocabulary to younger students that will allow them to memorize them?

2. Split your class into appropriate number of groups.

3. Give students the opportunity to meet in their assigned groups to brainstorm ideals.

Day 3: Observe and Rethink

(Aim: This will allow the students to see different techniques the younger class is using at this particular time.)

1. Students will observe a math lesson being taught to the younger class.

2. After this observation period the students will have the opportunity to rethink their strategies.

3. Students will note the different ways the teacher instructed the younger students.

4. After students have written down several ways they observed the teacher teaching, the students will come up with new ways of teaching their younger peers.

5. Now students will take the methods they came up with prior to observing the younger class and categorize them as well.

Day 4:  Vocabulary Teaching Strategy

(Aim: Students will come up with how they will teach their group of kids the vocabulary terms.)

1. Students will pick the one method they want to focus on.

2. Students will decide how they are going to take their teaching method and convey it to the younger students.

3. Demonstrate a prototype using a teaching method that the students have not talked about for an example.

4. Allow the students to create their own prototype.

Day 5: Present to Another Group

(Aim: Students will share their method with another group.)

1. Each group will present to one other group.

2. After listening to the presentation the other group will give feedback.

Days 6 and 7: Vocabulary Presentation

(Aim: Students will present their strategy to the younger students.)

1. Students will be assigned to groups of younger students and then use their devised method to teach the younger students the names of the geometric shapes.

Day 8:  Writing Assessment

(Aim: Students will write up their design process using mathematical terms.)

1. Students will write a description of how they taught the younger students the geometric vocabulary making sure they use the geometric vocabulary in their write up.


Reading the students procedures on teaching the strategies will allow the teacher to assess if the student knows the vocabulary himself or herself

Periodically revisiting the vocabulary by selecting a word and telling the students to write the definition on the dry erase board.


Enrichment Extension Activities

Naming Shapes is an easily extended lesson because you ask the students to find an object in their house that resembles any of the shape.  Students should write the name of the shape down, the name of the object, and draw a picture.  You can also have the student write a sentence describing why the object they chose is that particular shape they chose.  Hopefully, this allows the students to bring up the definition by listing the characteristics of it.

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