K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • learn different shapes.
  • use shapes to make other shapes.
  • take a design and fill it in with pattern blocks.
  • make a design several times and tell how many blocks it takes to make the design.
  • use attribute blocks to trace around and make a shape man.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

7 days


  • Pattern blocks of a circle, triangle, square, rectangle, octagon, hexagon, trapezoid, parallelogram
  • Pages with printed pattern designs. I took large objects I found in the classroom and at home and I traced the shape on the pages.
  • Pencils, paper, crayons, scissors, brads
  • Attribute blocks
  • Literature books:

Technology resources

Computer hooked to TV or a projector with internet access.


The students should have a background of understanding about different kinds of shapes. Teacher can stress to students that we have shapes all around us and many things we see daily are made up of shapes. Teacher will have the students identify objects in a picture and the different shapes that they see within these pictures.


Day 1

  1. Teacher will introduce the shapes by reading Take Off with Shapes.
  2. Teacher will hold up individual shapes and discuss each shape.
  3. Students will color a paper showing circle, triangle, square and rectangle.
  4. Teacher will use the computer hooked to a presentation center (LCD projector) or TV to show different shapes found on Kidspiration.

Day 2

  1. Teacher reads Circles and students find things in the room that is the shape of a circle.
  2. Students discuss the characteristics of a circle.
  3. Teacher reads The World of Shapes: Circles and Spheres and discusses it with the students.
  4. Students discuss characteristics of a sphere.

Day 3

  1. Teacher reads The World of Shapes: Squares and Cubes and discusses it with the students.
  2. Students discuss the characteristics of cubes.
  3. Teacher reads The World of Shapes: Triangles and Pyramids and discusses it with the students.

Day 4

  1. Students take attribute blocks and trace around them.
  2. They will cut out the shapes and put them together with brads to make a shape man. First you have the triangle for the hat, a circle will make the head, eyes will be circles and the nose will be a triangle. You can use a crayon or oval to make the mouth. The neck will be made with a rectangle. The man’s body will be made of a square. He will have circles for the buttons. The arms will be made of long rectangles and the hands will be ovals. The legs will be made of long rectangles and the feet will be ovals.

Day 5

  1. Students take the pattern blocks and make a design with them. They will tell how many blocks it takes to make the designs. For example: If Sally made the face of a rabbit using one large circle for the head, two small circles for the eyes, two small triangles for the ears, and one small oval for the mouth how many large circles, small circles, triangles and ovals would she use if she made three of the rabbit faces?
  2. Teacher will continue with this activity until students begin to show mastery when determining the number of each shape needed for each design.

Day 6

  1. Teacher will give students the activity sheets (Body Parts 1, Body Parts 2, Body Parts 3, Body Parts 4) on Build a Shape Man and let the students cut each shape out. Then students will put this shape man together using brads. They can color each one if they would like to do so.
  2. Technology Integration - Students will use Kidspiration as a center activity to review shape and word. Students will click on Picture on the menu. They will write in Shapes in the First Idea oval. They will click on the middle triangle and find Math. Student clicks on the third triangle for the shapes. Students will click on the shape and put it on the screen. They will write the name of the shape under the picture (see Example).


  • Assessment Quiz
  • Shape Man Art Project: Shape activity pages are attached below (see body parts attachments 1,2,3, and 4)
  • Kidspiration Project on the computer

Supplemental information

There are various books that your media may have that you could use to carry out this lesson plan. Examples of student work items in the classroom that may have the shape.


Our students enjoyed studying the shapes and finding different shapes in the classroom and school. They loved making the shape man and displaying them in the classroom.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • Geometry
          • 1.G.1 Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size) ; build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
          • 1.G.2 Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape,...
        • Kindergarten

          • K.G.2Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
          • K.G.4Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/“corners”) and other attributes (e.g., having...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 3: Geometry - The learner will identify, describe, draw, and build basic geometric figures.
    • Objective 3.01: Identify, build, draw and name parallelograms, squares, trapezoids, and hexagons.
    • Objective 3.03: Compare and contrast geometric figures.