EL Support Lesson

All About Rectangles

Students will get hands-on practise by building shapes with pipe cleaners in this lesson all about the defining attributes of rectangles. Use as a stand alone lesson or with the **Shapes for year one** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theShapes for year one!Lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theShapes for year one!Lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify and build rectangles.


Students will compare and describe different rectangles with content-specific vocabulary using sentence frames, visuals, and peer support.

(2 minutes)
Rectangle ShapesVocabulary Cards: All About RectanglesGlossary: All About RectanglesTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives Reference
  • Gather students together for the start of the lesson.
  • Ask students to form a RectangleWith their hands by joining their fingers together. Tell students to repeat, RectangleAfter you.
  • Tell students to think of other shapes that they know, and create a list of shapes on the board
  • Explain that today they will be learning about what makes a rectangle the same as and different from other shapes.
(5 minutes)
  • Create and display a T-chart labeled "Rectangle" and "Not a Rectangle." Include visuals to support emerging readers (e.g., a rectangle and then other shapes or a rectangle with a line over it).
  • Place the RectangleVocabulary Card on the board and describe the attributes to the class using the visual as a guide (e.g., a rectangle always has four sides, two long and two short).
  • Show the remaining shape (circle, square, triangle) Vocabulary Cards one at a time and ask students to give you a thumbs up if the shape is a rectangle, and a thumbs down if the shape is not a rectangle.
  • Model finding rectangles in the classroom or identifying rectangles using the real world shapes you collected prior to the lesson.
  • Tell students that rectangles can come in many different sizes and colors, but all rectangles have four sides, two short and two long.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to turn and talk with a partner to share how they knew which shapes were rectangles.
  • Invite students to share their thinking with the group. If needed, prompt students to notice that rectangles have exactly four sides and four Corners, the place where two lines meet.
  • Tell students to raise four fingers, and count the sides on one of the rectangle examples. Show them an example of a shape that is not a rectangle because it does not have four sides (two long and two short) and four corners.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain that students will be working with a partner to create rectangles using pipe cleaners.
  • Model the activity by choosing a long pipe cleaner. Demonstrate bending the pipe cleaner to create corners to make the sides of a rectangle, as time allows show students how to join pipe cleaners together to create additional rectangles. If pipe cleaners are not available students can build rectangles with popsicle sticks, straws, clay, or on paper.
  • Use a think aloud to reflect on your shape. Ask, "What makes this a rectangle?" Remind students that all rectangles have four sides (two long and two short) joined by four corners.
  • Diplay the sentence frames, "A rectangle has ____." Model using the sentence frames to describe the rectangle.
  • Pass out materials for students to use. Encourags students to create different sized rectangles using different sizes of pipe cleaners. Ask students to describe the triangles using the sentence frames.


  • Work in a teacher-led small group to sort the shape cards.
  • Pair students together at various levels of English-language proficiency. Pair ELLs with supportive, English-proficient peers.


  • Invite students to build additional shapes. Ask students to compare the shapes to determine what is different and what is the same as a rectangle.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room to check student progress. Are students able to accurately create a rectangle?
  • Ask guiding questions to assess student understanding, such as "What shape is this? How do you know? What do all rectangles have?"
(3 minutes)
  • Gather students back together and ask students to hold up one of the rectangles that they made. Have students show you on their fingers how many sides a rectangle has.
  • Ask students to think about other shapes they could make with pipe cleaners. Have students turn and talk to share a the name of another shape they could build (e.g., square or triangle). Prompt students to recognise that triangles and squares both have straight sides, like rectangles and could be created using the pipe cleaners.

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