Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Magical Shapes

Jennifer Slichter
Santa Rosa District Schools


This is a fun lesson on shapes that encourages student involvement. Students practice manipulating shapes into different locations. They learn that even though shapes may look different when they are moved into different locations, the shape remains the same with the same properties. The lesson is called magical shapes because students have the opportunity to make pictures using pre cut-out shapes.


The student follows directions to move or place an object and describes the relationship of objects using positional language (for example, over, to the left of).

The student demonstrates slides and turns using concrete materials.


-Chart labled MOVING SHAPES.
-Cut-outs of shapes: 10 large construction paper cut-outs of triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles.
-Mini cut-outs of shapes for students. Make enough small, cut-outs that each child will have 5 squares, 5 triangles, and 5 rectangles. Using a hole punch, cut out enough circles so that each chid has between 5 and 10.
-Paper plates
-Tape for chart activity
-Attached worksheets
-Safety scissors
-Chart labeled MATCHING SHAPES


1. Using construction paper, cut out ten large cut-outs of circles, rectangles, squares and triangles.

2. Using a hole puncher and colored paper, cut out enough circles for each student to have approximately 10 at least.

3. Using the Ellison machine, cut out enough triangles, squares, rectangles, for each student to have at least five each.

4. Write the words MATCHING SHAPES on a piece of large chart paper. Trace the outline of the shapes onto the paper with a big black marker. Students will have to match the shape to the correct outline.

5. Make copies of the worksheet.

6. Write the words circle, triangle, rectangle and square on the chalkboard.

7. Write the words MOVING SHAPES on a piece of large chart paper. (Students will tape different shapes in different locations on this piece of paper.)


1.Introduce the lesson and tell the class that we are going to do some fun activities with shapes today. We are going to call this lesson Magic Shapes because we are going to change the appearance of shapes by moving the shapes around. We are also going to do an art activity where we move shapes around in different locations using our positional words to make a picture.

2. Review shapes. Hold up the shape cut-outs and have students say the shape names as quickly as they can. Discuss characteristics. Count the sides of each shape together. Discuss which has more sides, the triangle or the rectangle. Review similarities and differences by playing a riddle game.

3. Ask the following riddles.
--I am a shape that rolls and has no sides like a ball. I also have no corners. What shape am I? Let a volunteer answer, circle.
--I am a shape that has three equal sides. What am I? Let a volunteer answer, triangle.
--I am a shape that has four equal sides. What am I? Let a volunteer answer, square.
--I am a shape that has four sides and four corners and two sides are longer. What shape am I? Let a volunteer answer, rectangle.

Tell the class that we see shapes in objects all around us. Ask who sees some shapes in the room that has four sides and two sides are longer. Possible answers are chalkboard, door and bulletin board. Who sees a shape in the room that is round? Possible answer could be the classroom clock.

4. Students will do a group activity where they identify the pre-made, cut-out shapes of construction paper. Ask for volunteers to come to the front and pick up the different shapes and say their names. Write rectangle, square, triangle, and circle on the board and have the volunteer point to the correct word.

5. Point to the chart labeled MOVING SHAPES. Tell the class that we are going to practice moving shapes around to see if we can make the shapes look different. Ask the class if they can think of ways to move the shape around. Generate responses such as flip it, turn it, slide it, etc. Point out that all the triangles, circles, squares and rectangles are still the same size.

6. Call for volunteers to come up and tape the rectangles in different locations on the chart. Guide students in flipping and turning the shapes in various locations. Point out the rectangles might look different, but they are the same size and shape. Proceed in the same manner with the other shapes. Point out the only shape that keeps the same appearance when rotated or flipped is the circle because it has no corners. The other shapes are identical but look different because we moved them around.

7. Point to the MATCHING SHAPES chart that was pre-made. Tell the class that they see outlines of the large shapes we have been working with today. The outlines are of various shapes in different locations on this paper.
Students will practice matching the shapes to the correct outlines by taping the cut-out shape over the matching outline.

8. Draw a triangle on the board. Tell the class that we are going to practice our positional words. Ask for a volunteer to come to the front and to draw a circle on top of the triangle. Ask for a volunteer to guess what this could be. Generate responses such as ice cream cone. Draw a rectangle on the board. Ask for a volunteer to draw a large circle on top of the rectangle. Ask for another volunteer to draw small circles inside the large circle. Ask for another volunteer to draw a line underneath the "tree." Ask students to share what this could resemble. Generate responses such as an apple or cherry tree. Draw a triangle with a line going down. Ask for a volunteer to draw a rectangle underneath the line. Ask what this looks like. Get responses such as a sailboat. Ask for a volunteer to put a star to the right of the boat. Ask for a volunteer to put a star to the left of the boat. Finally ask for a volunteer to put a moon above the boat.

9. Pass out paper plates and small cut outs of triangles, cirlces, squares and rectangles to each student. The shapes will be in various colors. The Ellison machine and hole puncher could be used for this project. Tell the students that today they are going to be given ten minutes to glue their shapes on their plates to make an attractive design. Practice moving the shapes around in various locations before gluing. Each plate will be unique and special. Set timer for 10 minutes. When the buzzer goes off have students hold up their plates in the air for several seconds while the class looks around to see each other's work. (Note: Adjust the time according to the abilities of your class.)

10.Review what was learned. The shapes stayed the same even though the appearance changed. Quickly review shape names using the shape cut-outs. Ask students to hold up right hands, left hands, put their hands underneath their desks, place both hands over their desks, etc. Note students who are having difficulty.

11. Pass out worksheet. Give directions. Circulate and monitor as students work.

12. Take up worksheets. Provide appropriate feedback.


Informally evaluate the students' understanding of the concept that the basic shape stays the same, even though the appearance may change when it flips, slides, or turns, using positional language. The informal evaluation can be done through observation of the group activities. A formative assessment may be done based on the attached worksheets. Students should be able to do the worksheet with 80% accuracy or be given more opportunity to practice these skills in the future. As students show their "pictures" made with the shapes, ask them to verbally describe how they placed the shapes onto the pictures. Listen for positional words and, if necessary, question students. Note those having difficulty using the words correctly.


As a language arts activity, students can make a mini book. Take 4 pieces of paper and staple together with a construction paper cover sheet. The book will be called Magic Shapes. Each day a shape will be emphasized and students will draw a picture of an object having that shape. For example, the students would write, I see a triangle, and draw a picture of a tee pee. I see a square, and draw a picture of a present in a box. I see a rectangle, and draw a picture of a house. I see a triangle, and draw a picture of a sailboat with a sail. I see a circle, and draw a picture of the sun.

Attached Files

Worksheets for students to use during the lesson     File Extension: pdf

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