Math Background

Identifying Shapes and Matching Parts: When Students Ask

  • Why do I need to learn about shapes?
    Role-play a situation in which you want to plant a class garden. Have children describe the shape of the garden, with and without using the words circle, triangle, rectangle, and square. Talk about how much easier it is to explain the shape of the garden using these words. Invite children to think of other situations in which they need to know about shapes. Use magazine pictures and pictures from books to spark ideas.
  • How can I tell if a shape has symmetry?
    Cut out a circle. Ask a volunteer to fold it so that both parts match. Then draw a line down the fold and identify it as a line of symmetry. Continue with a triangle and rectangle. Emphasize that both parts are the same size and shape and that the shapes have mirrored parts.
  • Why do I need to know about halves?
    Kindergarten children are often very interested in their “fair share.” Hold up a large cracker, and say that you want to share it with a friend. You want both shares to be the same size. Ask a volunteer to divide the cracker equally, and identify each part as one half. Talk about other situations in which children want to share something fairly. Point out that when dividing something into two equal parts, each part is one half.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K