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Exploring shapes with kindergarteners
Exploring shapes with kindergarteners
11 Oct, 2016. 3 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Autumn, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Math. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Exploring shapes with kindergarteners

I have found that when teaching kindergarten, at many times throughout the year I loop back around to concepts to help my students dig even deeper into the materials, concepts, and standards. About two weeks ago, we finished our first group of lessons on two dimensional shapes. These first lessons were very exploratory in nature and were meant to introduce my students to the features, names, and attributes of two dimensional shapes. In order to accomplish this, we completed many hands-on activities and centers.

I wanted to show you a few of our favorite activities and then give you an idea as to where we are going next week when we engage in another week of shapes.

As many of my students come to me fairly familiar with the basic two dimensional shapes, we begin our shape lessons by singing some fun songs. Here are a few of our favorites.

We also look for shapes while playing during exploration centers. Shapes are everywhere! It’s always fun when students start to refer to Magnatiles, pattern blocks, and building blocks using their proper names.

Exploring shapes with kindergarteners

Exploring shapes with kindergarteners

Exploring shapes with kindergarteners

We also practiced building shapes using different materials. During guided math, we used our Spielbagen  pieces.

Exploring shapes with kindergarteners

After my students got the hang of making the shapes with the pieces, we added play dough to represent the vertices.

Exploring shapes with kindergarteners

I also set out a variety of provocations for my students to use during math rotations and exploration centers.

Reggio-inspired provocation while kindergarteners explored two dimensional shapes Reggio-inspired provocation while kindergarteners explored two dimensional shapes Reggio-inspired provocation while kindergarteners explored two dimensional shapes

kindergarten student explores making two dimensional shapes using toothpicks and marshmallows

They really enjoyed making their shapes using toothpicks and marshmallows.

kindergarten student explores making two dimensional shapes using toothpicks and marshmallows

Finally, we went on shape hunts! My students went on shape hunts in the classroom using labels and our iPads to document the shapes that they found.

kindergarten students hunt their classroom for two dimensional shapes. They used their iPads to take pictures of the shapes that they found! Kindergarten students hunt their classroom for two dimensional shapes. They used their iPads to take pictures of the shapes that they found!

They loved hunting the room with a buddy and posing for pictures.

They also looked for shapes in magazines and glued their cut out shapes to giant anchor charts.

kindergarten students cut out shapes that they found in magazines and glued them to shape anchor charts

These foundational activities and lessons set the groundwork for our next batch of lessons coming up. Next week we will dive into some deeper thinking. Students will be presented with familiar shapes and explore how to make them using other two dimensional shapes. We will compare and contrast two familiar shapes during calendar time next week, and then complete math journal prompts that encourage my students to think deeply. Some questions that my students will answer next week are:

“Using your pattern blocks, how many different ways can you make a triangle?”

“Using your pattern blocks, how many different ways can you fill the hexagons?”

(I have a template page that I use for this)

“Can you fill a circle with triangles? squares? rectangles? Why or why not?”

“In my cup I have two shapes. The shapes have 8 sides in all. Which two shapes do I have in my cup?” (list the possibilities)

“In my cup I have two shapes. The shapes have 7 sides in all. Which two shapes do I have in my cup?” (list the possibilities)

You can see, the exploratory lessons make it possible for us to dig even deeper into our knowledge of shapes, geometric principles, number sense, and how to solve problems. Now that my students are very familiar with the shapes, they are ready for these higher level questions and can really work out the answers!

If you are interested in any of the shape provocations, they are all available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store in my “two dimensional shape provocations” pack. (link)

I hope you are having a great week!! If you would like to join the conversation of other teachers trying out activities like this, feel free to join the A Day In First Grade Facebook Group! Join by clicking here! 

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3 Comments
  1. Nicole -

    I love how you teach and do centers. It’s so hands on and engaging. I am a first year kindergarten teacher. I aspire to teach like you

  2. Aniela -

    So inspirational with so many great ideas, thank you! How did you stop them eating the marshmallows!!?!

    • Haha! Thank you!! I told them that if they all put their hands in the bin that the marshmallows would be full of germs and that they don’t want to get sick. They each got to eat one marshmallow before the activity started so that they would not eat germ-filled marshmallows! :)

3 Comments

  • Nicole -

    I love how you teach and do centers. It’s so hands on and engaging. I am a first year kindergarten teacher. I aspire to teach like you

  • Aniela -

    So inspirational with so many great ideas, thank you! How did you stop them eating the marshmallows!!?!

    • Haha! Thank you!! I told them that if they all put their hands in the bin that the marshmallows would be full of germs and that they don’t want to get sick. They each got to eat one marshmallow before the activity started so that they would not eat germ-filled marshmallows! :)

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