Lesson 1

Ways to Look at Figures

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to analyze two-dimensional figures and sort them into different categories based on their attributes.

Lesson Narrative

In grades 2 and 3, students studied some attributes of two-dimensional figures. In a previous unit, they investigated lines, rays, and segments, and drew and measured angles. They learned what it means when two lines or segments are parallel and perpendicular.

In this lesson, students use these understandings to examine attributes of two-dimensional shapes and sort the shapes into categories. As long as students can explain their rationale, they may choose to categorize the shapes using any attribute or combination of attributes—for instance, by the number of sides or angles, measurement of sides or angles, presence of parallel or perpendicular lines, and so on. Although each activity is designed to be open-ended, monitor for students who look for ways to describe or sort their shapes based on the presence or absence of angles of a specified size (right, obtuse, acute), parallel sides, or perpendicular sides. These attributes will be explored more in upcoming lessons.

This unit will continue to introduce new vocabulary to students. They should be encouraged to add to their portable word walls throughout the unit to support successful acquisition of geometry terms.

  • Engagement

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Analyze the attributes of two-dimensional shapes and categorize the shapes in a way that makes sense to them.

Student Facing

  • Let’s sort two-dimensional figures.

Required Materials

Materials to Gather

Materials to Copy

  • Shape Cards Grade 4

Required Preparation

Activity 1:

  • Create a set of cards from the blackline master for each group of 2–4.

CCSS Standards


Building Towards

Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 20 min
Activity 2 15 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 5 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

Students learned about angle measurement and parallel lines in an earlier unit. In what ways did you see and hear students building on those ideas when they described and sorted the shapes in this lesson?

Suggested Centers

  • Picture Books (K–5), Stage 3: Find Shapes (Supporting)

Print Formatted Materials

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Additional Resources

Google Slides

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PowerPoint Slides

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