EL Support Lesson

Making Shapes

Help your students get comfortable with 2D shapes using this fun arts-inspired lesson plan!
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theQuizzical ShapesLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theQuizzical ShapesLesson plan.

Students will be able to identify shapes based on their attributes.


Students will be able to describe the differences between shapes using mathematical vocabulary.

(3 minutes)
Teach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Making ShapesGlossary: Making Shapes
  • Gather the class together for a read aloud.
  • Display the book, The Shape of ThingsAnd explain that a shape is the outline of something.
  • Ask students if they know the names of any shapes. Have them turn and talk to a partner to share any shapes that they already know.
  • Have students share out the shapes that they know, create a visual word wall to illustrate the shapes students share (e.g., square, rectangle, triangle, etc.).
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book, pausing as you read to note the different kinds of shapes. Refer back to the visual word wall.
  • Explain that we can tell the difference between shapes by paying attention to their AttributesOr a characteristic used to describe something.
  • Draw a square on the board. Point to the SidesAnd CornersAnd say, "I know this is a square because it has four sides that are the same size and four corners."
  • Draw a triangle next to the square. Model a think aloud to compare the shapes, "This shape has three sides and three corners. It is a triangle. It is similar to the square, but I know that it is a triangle because it only has three sides and corners and not four."
(5 minutes)
  • Model how to draw different 2D shapes (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, etc.) using chart paper or the whiteboard.
  • Point to each shape and have students practise drawing the shape in the air with fingers.
  • Tell students to turn to a partner and choose one of the shapes to draw on their partners back using their fingers. Have the partner try to guess the shape, then have pairs switch roles.
  • Point to a circle and a triangle on the board. Ask students, "How are these shapes different?" Have students turn and talk to share with a partner.
  • Repeat with remaining shapes.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that students will now get to create a shape picture using at least one of each of the shapes from the lesson (triangle, square, rectangle, circle, and hexagon). Provide a sample picture to demonstrate one way to do this (e.g., a house scene made using shapes).
  • Pass out materials and send students to work independently.


  • Display visual Vocabulary Cards for each target shape.
  • Have students practise describing shapes in their home language (L1).
  • In a small group, practise identifying shapes using their attributes (three corners, four corners, etc.).


  • Provide images of shapes that are different sizes or orientations. Encourage students to identify the same shapes using their attributes. Have students explain how they know what kind of shape it is. Say, "I know this is a square because it has four sides and four corners."
(5 minutes)
  • Collect student work and assess if students were able to represent each of the target shapes.
  • Ask students guiding questions to assess their ability to describe shapes by attributes. For example, "Which shape has three sides and three corners? How do you know?"
(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and ask students to turn and talk to a partner to share their pictures. Have students identify their shapes and explain to their partner the attributes of each shape. For example, "This is a ____, I know it is a ____Because ____."
  • Hold up one shape at a time and ask students to shout out the name of the shape.

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