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Circles, Squares,
Triangles and Rectangles
In Our World



  • Visual Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Geometry


  • Pre-K
  • K-2

Brief Description

A variety of activities for teaching students about shapes.


Students will
  • recognize the shapes of a circle, square, triangle and rectangle.
  • identify those shapes in their world and in printed material.


shapes, circle, square, triangle, rectangle

Materials Needed

  • glue
  • scissors
  • colored construction paper
  • cookie-making supplies (cookie cutters, mixing bowl, stirring spoons, rolling pin)
  • chart paper

The Lesson

Day One. Introduce the four basic shapes -- circle, square, triangle, and rectangle. Hang four sheets of chart paper in the classroom. At the top of each sheet write the name of one of the four shapes with an illustration of that shape. Then introduce a do-at-home activity. Parents and students together will search this week through magazines and newspapers to find things that are circle-, square-, triangle-, and rectangle-shaped. (Provide a selection of magazines or newspapers for students who might not have access to them at home.) Students can bring in their pictures any day during the week. Provide glue so students can add their pictures to the appropriate chart.

Day Two. Start the lesson by inviting students to share some of the pictures they brought in. Then provide students with a variety of shapes of many colors. Students can glue the shapes to 9- x 12-inch construction paper to create pictures. Give students an overnight assignment: have them bring in from home for "Show and Tell" four objects -- one that is a circle, on that is a square, one that's a triangle, and one that is rectangular.

Day Three. Give children an opportunity to share their "Show-and-Tell" objects from home. Display the objects on tables or counters. Then have students take out the pictures they cut from magazines and newspapers. Spread the four sheets of chart paper on tables and have students glue their pictures to the appropriate charts. (Observe: Is it easy or difficult for students to find the right charts for their pictures?)

Day Four. Plan a field trip to a community market or grocery store. Before going

  • If you call ahead to make arrangements, some markets will be able to provide crackers of different shapes for a student snack.
  • Make name tags of various shapes. Have each child choose her/his favorite shape for their name tag.
Look for items in the market that are in the four shapes being studied.

Day Five. Have students wash their hands and put on their aprons. Add ingredients for cookies (sugar cookies or ginger cookies are favorites) to a bowl and give each child a turn at stirring. Roll out the dough on a wax-paper-covered table. Have students use cookie cutters in the shape of a circle, square, triangle, and rectangle to cut out cookie shapes. While the cookies are baking, the children can review the shapes that they can now -- after a week of activities -- easily identify.


Each day the teacher can quiz students about the shapes as they work with them. On Day Five, quiz students about the shapes of the cookies being made.

Submitted By

Submitted by Kathy Ann Berni, Faith Lutheran Child Care in Pasadena, California

Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World

Originally published 03/11/2005
Last updated 05/25/2009