Let’s Talk About Shapes

We’ve been hitting 2D and 3D shapes hard since September!  Anybody else feel like shapes and their properties can just be basic and boring?  I’ve finally found a good mix of a few great activities for higher level thinking with shapes!

Meeting the Common Core standard for shapes in first grade is way more than identifying shapes and playing with pattern blocks.  Even though that’s fun…and has it’s place.

It’s describing shapes.  And distinguishing between important attributes and unimportant attributes of shapes.  And that means lots of TALKS about shapes!

Math Talks for SHAPES!

We used this slide to talk about which figures are shapes and why.  My Tricky Shapes packet has a detailed page with guiding questions and a vignette of what this conversation looks like in my classroom.

We charted the rules for shapes…

Then, we moved on to talking about what makes a triangle a triangle?  I’ve done this for two years in my classroom and it makes for some heated discussions.  In fact we literally have to “take sides” sometimes and have kids move to one side of the room or another based on their opinions!  And it’s so fun to watch them one by one slowly move over to the other side when the hear a friend make a good argument.

These slides are perfect for in depth conversations and will really make the kids AND you think about shapes!  Need to address math practice #3: Construct a viable argument and critique others?  These slides are it!

Charts & Sorts

We charted each shape at the end of these talks as we wrote down rules for triangles and rectangles…

Here’s a 2D shape sort we used one day.  I made my kiddos draw each vertex on the shape just to add a little extra.  You could also have kids label the shapes after the sorted…man, I wish I woulda done that!  Next year…

For 3D shapes, we charted the properties that define them….

This helped to guide our next activity…Blocks in a Sock!

Blocks in Socks

For this game, you need…
*some geometric shapes or wooden geoblocks will work too

Just put one block in each sock and you are good to go!  I made 7 socks.  Enough for us to model with one and put one sock at each of my table groups.

I modeled this first by putting my hand in the sock and using our 3D Shapes anchor chart to help me describe the shape I was feeling…no peeking!!  Then, we had a few students come up and describe the shape in their sock to the class and let the class guess which shape it was.

You can barely see in the picture, but my 3D shape slide from my Calendar Math Wall is on my board to help give kids a visual as they were trying to figure out what shape it was.

Then, students went back to their table groups.  I had one sock at each group.  They took turns feeling the block and telling the group what 3D shape it was and how they knew.  We rotated through the table groups staying about 2 minutes at each table.  The kids absolutely LOVE this activity and it’s a great higher level thinking game!

Plus, little prep (and no prep the next year if you save the blocks and socks) and no copies to make!  But this packet does include a blocks in socks sort if you want to use it as extra practice!  Just great math talks about shapes!


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One Comment

  1. What a great idea with the sock, Whitney! My kiddos are going to go crazy for this! 🙂 Thanks for hosting! 🙂