Quadrilaterals are important shapes when it comes to geometry. While students won’t begin to learn about more complex quadrilaterals like the rhombus and trapezoid until about first grade, they are probably completely familiar with quadrilaterals like the square and rectangle. Help familiarize your child with these geometric shapes, or if they’re ready to tackle a more complex topic, use familiar quadrilaterals to introduce the concept of symmetry.
The concept of a quadrilateral is simple enough: it is a two dimensional shape that has four straight sides, is closed, and has interior angles that add up to 360 degrees. Working with quadrilaterals can help students develop early concepts of geometry, such as angles, graphing, and symmetry. Visualizing how angles function in the changing shapes of quadrilaterals develops important instincts in geometry. Likewise, understanding symmetry helps with future concepts of graphing. Let’s consider a few types of quadrilaterals:
Square: a square has four equal sides, four perfect right angles, and opposite sides are parallel.
Rectangle: a rectangle has two pairs of equal sides, four perfect right angles, and opposite sides are parallel.
Rhombus: a rhombus is a diamond looking shape. It has four equal sides, two pairs of equal angles, and opposite sides are parallel.
Parallelogram: imagine a rectangle that has been tipped to the side. It has two pairs of equal sides and two pairs of equal angles.
Trapezoid: trapezoids don’t necessarily need equal sides or angles. The only requirement is that two of the four sides are parallel.
Had enough of four-sided shapes? Spice up your math practice with our resources on the five-sided pentagon, or go down a number and check out the three-sided triangle!