Math Background

Identifying Shapes and Matching Parts: Tips and Tricks

  • Use your school or public library to find books that focus on shapes. Suggestions include Cubes, Cones, Cylinders and Spheres by Tana Hoban and Eye Spy Shapes by Debbie MacKinnon.
  • Prepare “bingo” type cards by making a grid and drawing a two- or three-dimensional shape in each box. Explain and demonstrate how to play bingo. Then have small groups play the game as you say shape names.
  • Review measurement concepts by using three-dimensional shapes. Choose two containers and ask which can hold more. Check by filling the containers with rice or sand. Use a balance scale to compare weight.
  • Create an ongoing class mural to classify shapes. Divide mural paper into sections and label each section with the name of each shape. Children can look for magazine pictures to glue in each section.
  • Use items from nature to explore symmetry and halves. Go on a nature walk and have children collect leaves, twigs, and so on. Discuss which of these items have matching parts and have children describe other objects in nature that have symmetry.
  • Use snack time to look for shapes. Give each child a slice of cheese and identify the shape. You can also give children pretzel sticks and ask them to make squares, rectangles, and triangles.
  • Take advantage of children's love of blocks and building to explore three-dimensional shapes. Invite children to build structures and name the shapes of blocks. You may wish to have them make a bar graph showing the number of different block shapes used.
    pyramid of cubes

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K