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Am I a Circle, Square, Triangle, or Rectangle?

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematics thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
Grades:
Subjects:
Mathematics (5,300)

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Am I a Circle, Square, Triangle, or Rectangle?

Purpose/Skills

  • To identify circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles
  • To be able to talk about shapes

Materials
Plastic or cardboard circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles placed in a bag

Literature Suggestion
Read Little Cloud by Eric Carle. Help children notice that the cloud shapes in the book are NOT circles, squares, rectangles, or triangles. Have them look for circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles in this and other books.

Vocabulary
shapes squares
circles     alike
different compare
triangles

Warm-Up
Shake the shapes out of the bag. Review shapes with children. Teach them this "Shape Chant:"
      I am a square, four sides are the same.(Four fingers up)
      I am a rectangle, two short sides are the same.(Two fingers on one hand up)
      Two long sides are the same. (Two fingers on other hand up)
      I am a circle, I go round and round. (Arms around in a circle)
      I have three sides and triangle is my name! (Arms up, fingers touch to form a triangle)

Procedure

  • Put all of the shapes back into the bag. Model putting your hand in the bag, selecting one shape, and describing it. For example, "I feel a shape that has three sides. It must be a triangle!"
  • Invite children to take turns putting their hand in, selecting, describing, and naming a shape. Encourage applause after each correct response.
  • After all children have had a turn, tell them that they have been comparing shapes. "What is comparing?" (See how the shapes are alike and different.) Ask comprehension questions such as, "How are the triangle and rectangle the same?" (Both have sides and corners.) "How are the triangle and rectangle different?" (Rectangle has 4 sides and corners; triangle has only 3.)
Enrichment
  • Provide different sizes and colors of paper shapes at a center.
  • Invite children to make shape designs by gluing down shapes of different sizes and colors.
  • Some children may enjoy tracing around shapes with color crayons to make their designs.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can identify circles, squares, triangles, and rectangless and can name the number of sides and corners.
  • In Process - Child can identify at least two of the shapes.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child can sometimes identify one or two shapes, but performance is inconsistent.

Excerpted from

School Readiness Activity Cards
Pearson Early Childhood
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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