Our Geometic World

By Lisa Liu, October 24, 2006

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

Three sixty-minute class periods


This lesson is comprised of three parts that integrate math, writing, and design. It challenges students to apply mathematical concepts to real life objects. Part one of the lesson is to take a geometry walk around the neighborhood. The goal is to have students identify various polygons and lines in buildings, nature, and any objects they encounter. This activity helps to engage kinesthetic and visual learners. It helps all students to see math in their world.Having completed the walk, students will design a building using various geometric patterns, shapes and lines. Students will be asked to balance the functionality of their design with adding details to heighten the aesthetics of their buildings. The final aspect of the lesson is to have students complete a descriptive writing of their building. The goal is for students to be able to add enough details using adjectives and including distinguishing characteristic of their design.

National Standards


Students will be able to:
  • identify polygons, parallelograms, parallel lines, and intersecting lines, and angles in their environment
  • classify shapes
  • create a design of a building using geometric shapes
  • compose a descriptive essay
  • evaluate peer writing


  • Geometry Worksheet


  • construction paper
  • templates of various geometric shapes
  • writing paper


* polygon * parallelograms (including rectangle, square, rhombus and parallelogram)
* lines * line segments * parallel lines * intersecting lines * acute angle * obtuse angle * right angles


Part I: Geometric Walk 1) Review with students the various geometric figures (see Vocabulary List). Ask students whether they have observed any of these figures in the world around them. 2) On chart paper or blackboard, the class will generate a list of objects they have observed that fall into the following categories: Polygons, Parallelograms, Intersecting Lines/Line Segments, Parallel Lines/Line Segments, Acute Angles, Right Angles, Obtuse Angles, and other shapes (not polygons). a) Point out that some shapes can fall into more than one category. Some categories are more general, and others specific. b) Encourage students to examine items in the classroom that  fall into the categories. 3) Inform students that they will be going on a “geometric walk” around the school neighborhood. 4) Give students the Geometry Worksheet. Students are to record, through sketching, items that fall into the categories. They will closely examine buildings, signs, and both man-made and natural things that fall into one of the 8 categories(see categories in Step 2). 5) During the walk, as students are sketching, engage students in questions about their neighborhood and the shapes they see (E.g. Pointing out tree branches and asking the students what angle they see). 6) After the walk, students will add to the class list of geometric shapes in their environment. 7) Engage the class in a discussion about what shapes they saw the most frequently and why certain shapes would be used for certain uses (E.g. “Almost all the windows we saw were rectangles. Why did designers use this shape? Why aren’t windows shaped like a circle? When might a window be shaped like a circle? Would that be a window you could open and close daily?” Part II: Building Design 1) Ask students to design a building using some of the geometric figures they have seen in their environment. Students should include elements of functionality as well as add details using an 11x17 piece of construction paper to serve as the background, an 8 ½ x 11 piece of construction paper for the building, geometric templates to trace, as well as additional construction paper to trace the templates. Part III: 1) Instruct students to write a descriptive essay describing their building. Essays are to be written with enough detail that listeners can identify students’ buildings based on writings. 2) After essays are composed, students will read their essay to the class. 3) Students will match the author with their building design based on written descriptions. 4) Class will engage in discussion about what details in the essay made it easy to identify the building and what additional details could be added for clarity.


 Students will be assessed based on:
  • accurate classification of shapes and lines on geometric worksheet
  • oral responses to teacher questions
  • usage of geometric shapes and lines to construct building
  • writing assessment based on the state's standards Writing Rubric in the areas of: style, organization, conventions, focus, and content.

Enrichment Extension Activities

  • Students can go on a geometric scavenger hunt at home or other places in their community.
  • Students can create a shape collage based on pictures, magazines, and other publications.

Teacher Reflection

Overall, students enjoyed the lesson. It was very important that they had a chance to connect their textbook learning to their own world. The students were successful at correctly categorizing geometric shapes. It was particularly helpful to kinesthetic learners by allowing them to move, touch and feel so many different objects. Students need to learn to add more details to their writing.If I were to implement this lesson again, I would have students travel in small groups. That wasn’t feasible due to the lack of adult volunteers. It would have allowed students do more in-depth examination. However, it was good to know that the walk could work as a class. Another change would be to have the students pick one building they would like to sketch. They would then label different geometric elements in the design. This would take the place of the geometry worksheet where students sketched many different items. Some items fell into more than one category. Having one sketch would allow students to place multiple labels onto one feature to show that they understand that one shape can have more than one name. Ideally, it would have been nice if students had disposable cameras to take pictures with. They could then document their work using the pictures.

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