Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

Progression of Skills

Enduring UnderstandingScreen shot 2013-07-12 at 11.39.35 AM.png

Geometric attributes (such as sides and corners) provide descriptive information about an object's properties.

Essential Questions

How does geometry better describe objects?



About the Math

Spatial sense is an intuition about shapes and the relationships among shapes. This includes the ability to mentally visualize objects and spatial relationships like turning things around in your mind. Young children need experiences with recognizing two-dimensional shapes. Shapes should be presented in different orientations. For instance, triangles should be more than equilateral and not presented with the vertex at the top. A focus should be on sorting shapes into different categories. For instance, shapes with three sides and shapes with four sides.

Rich Tasks for Multiple Means of Engagement, Expression, and Representation (UDL)

Rich Problem:

Hidden Positions? - Activity 7.12: Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Grades K-3 (213).
For further Instructional Activities from this text, refer to Activity 7.1 (194) and Activity 7.6 (207)

Develop spatial sense by connecting geometric shapes to students’ everyday lives. Initiate natural conversations about shapes in the environment. Have students identify and name two- and three-dimensional shapes in and outside of the classroom and describe their relative position.

Ask students to find rectangles in the classroom and describe the relative positions of the rectangles they see, e.g. This rectangle (a poster) is over the sphere (globe). Teachers can use a digital camera to record these relationships. Hide shapes around the room. Have students say where they found the shape using positional words, e.g. I found a triangle UNDER the chair.

Have students create drawings involving shapes and positional words: Draw a window ON the door or Draw an apple UNDER a tree. Some students may be able to follow two- or three-step instructions to create their drawings.
Use a shape in different orientations and sizes along with non-examples of the shape so students can learn to focus on defining attributes of the shape.


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Online Resources

Pattern Block Barrier Game
Barrier Game Grid (1x3)
Barrier Game Grid (3x3) and Positional Words
Shapes on the Geoboard
Roaming Robot

Instructional Resources

Going on a Shape Hunt (IRA)
Investigating Triangles (NCTM)
I've Seen that Shape Before
Common two- and three-dimensional items
Die cut shapes
Three-dimensional models
Assorted Shapes (ablongman)
Tangrams (ablongman)
Piece it Together

Children's LIterature

shape_of_things.png The Shape of Things Task

Print Resources:

  • Lesson 1, Left and Right (pg. 64)
  • Lesson 10, Positions in a Lane (pg. 82)
  • Lesson 11, Relative Locations (pg. 84)
  • Lesson 12, Inside and Outside (pg. 86)
  • Lesson 13, Before and After (pg. 89)

Investigations Lessons that Support the Standard:

Common Core Alignment


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