Defining Shapes


Our Defining Shapes lesson plan teaches students strategies that can be used to define shapes. Students practice using these strategies and the knowledge gained in this lesson to identify and classify various shapes.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to have your students create a shapes book that has a photo and description of each shape.

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What our Defining Shapes lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Defining Shapes introduces students to various strategies that can be used to define shapes. Shapes are defined by counting the number of sides and corners. The lesson provides a chart which includes an illustration, number of sides, and number of corners for several different shapes. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to distinguish between defining and non-defining attributes as well as recognizing and drawing shapes with specific attributes. This lesson is for students in 1st grade and 2nd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the blue box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson include crayons or markers, glue, scissors, and extra pieces of paper.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One optional addition to this lesson is to have your students sort shapes based on defining and non-defining attributes by providing them with various shapes. You can also hide sets of shapes around the classroom and ask students to find and name them. You could also have your students create a shapes book that has a photo and description of each shape. Finally, students can take pictures of shapes around the school and put them together into a collage of shapes for the classroom.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Defining Shapes

The Defining Shapes lesson plan includes three content pages. Everything all around us is made up of shapes. So how do you figure out which shapes they are? Each shape has different attributes or characteristics. Some attributes we use to define shapes are the number of sides and number of corners (vertices). There are also non-defining attributes, like orientation, size, and color. We only use defining attributes when determining which shapes are which.

Shapes can be either open or closed. Closed figures start and end at the same point, meaning that you can choose any point on the shape and end up back at that point by following the line of the shape. Open figures, on the other hand, are created from line segments with one endpoint not connected to anything. The lesson shows a few examples of open and closed figures.

You can count the number of sides and corners on a polygon (a closed figure made up of at least three straight sides). Circles, ovals, or any curved figures are not polygons. We also call corners vertices. For most polygons, the number of vertices and the number of sides are often equal.

Shape Sheet

The lesson includes a helpful shape sheet that students can use to learn more about different shapes. It lists the shape and its number of sides and corners. It includes squares, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, rhombuses, trapezoids, pentagons, and circles.

There are shapes around us every day—eggs are ovals, waffles are circles, a checker board is square, the classroom door is a rectangle, a nut is a hexagon, and a broom is shaped like a trapezoid. If we understand how to recognize and name different shapes, we will understand the world around us better. Try looking around and seeing how many shapes you can see right now!


The Defining Shapes lesson plan includes four worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, a homework assignment, and a quiz. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For the activity worksheet, students will cut out and color the shapes on the worksheet. They will then use these shapes to create a picture, adding in more shapes as needed.


The practice worksheet asks students to look at shapes and label them. They will then draw different shapes based on the instructions.


For the homework assignment, students will color in shapes using the color key (for example, they will color all of the squares red and the rectangles green).


This lesson also includes a quiz that you can use to test students’ understanding of the lesson material. For the quiz, students will draw a line from each shape to its name.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet, the homework assignment, and the quiz. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade



State Educational Standards

LB.Math.Content.1.G.A.1, LB.Math.Content.2.G.A.1

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I believe I can readily use these materials for my special needs students at a variety of developmental levels.