Before beginning this lesson cut a red square and a blue rectangle from
a half piece of construction paper for each student. Also cut a large
red square and blue rectangle from a whole piece of construction paper
for your demonstration. Place whole pretzel sticks and halved pretzel
sticks on plates. Cut in half blue and red construction paper, one of
each color per student.
Show students a rectangle. Ask: “What can you tell me about this?” [It
has 4 straight lines, four corners –if standards require students to be
familiar with the word “vertex,” then be sure to include it with any
mention of corner in the instructional plan.] Give each student a blue
rectangle, and teddy bear counter. Using the teddy bear counter, have
students place it on one of the rectangles’ straight lines. Check and
make sure everyone did this correctly. As a class and using the teddy
bear counter, count the sides of the rectangle. How many sides does the
rectangle have? [Four.] Point out that where two sides meet is called a
corner. Demonstrate using your large blue rectangle. Have students
place their teddy bear counter on one of the corners or vertices. Check
to make sure everyone did this correctly. As a class, using a teddy
bear counter, count the corners or vertices. How many corners or
vertices did your rectangle have? [Four.] Tell students you are going
to give them another rectangle. Give students the red square. Ask: “Are
these the same or different?” [Different.] “What ways are they
different?” [Color and size. Accept any appropriate answers.] Help
students realize that the red rectangle has 4 sides just like the blue
rectangle, but all of its sides are the same. Have students use their
teddy bear counter and count the four sides of the special rectangle.
Ask, “What makes the red rectangle special?” [The sides are the same.]
Tell students the red rectangle with 4 sides that are the same is
called a square.
To review new vocabulary, have students listen carefully and follow
directions. Put your teddy bear on the sides of your square. Touch your
rectangle’s vertices. Have your teddy bear touch the short sides of
your rectangle. Touch the corners of the square. Let your teddy bear
touch the long sides of your rectangle.
Have plates of whole pretzel sticks and halved pretzel sticks
accessible to each child. Also have red and blue construction paper cut
in half and glue available.
students to use the pretzel sticks and make a square on their red piece
of construction paper. Once everyone has attempted the task, check
everyone’s work by asking:
“What is special about the square?” [All sides are the same length.]
Are all of the sides of your square the same? How do you know? Help
them to realize that they can compare and measure the pretzel sticks to
make sure they are the same size. Have students check their pretzels to
make sure they are the same size and allow them to glue them into place
to form a square.
Have students use the pretzel sticks to form a rectangle on their
blue piece of construction paper. Once everyone has attempted the
rectangle, check their work by asking: What is the difference between
the square and the rectangle? Both of the shapes students built are
rectangles, but the first one was special because all the sides were
the same so that one gets the special name of square. Have everyone
check their pretzels and allow them to glue them into place forming a
rectangle. Walk around room, giving help when needed. What did the
square and rectangle have that were the same? [Four straight sides and
four corners.] What makes the square special? [The sides are the same
length.] Using a premade example with a square glued to a piece of blue
construction paper, ask students if it’s an example of a square or a
rectangle or both? [Two rectangles and one square.]
Display work in room and use as a review.
Begin the lesson by reviewing the activity from the day before where
the students constructed squares and rectangles from pretzel sticks.
Ask: “How many sides and corners does a rectangle have?” [They have
4 straight sides, and 4 corners.] What makes the square a special
rectangle? [The square has 4 sides that are the same] Pass out the Squares and Rectangles
activity sheet. Instruct students to use a blue crayon to color all of
the rectangles. Remind them that a rectangle has 4 sides and 4 corners.
Walk around the room making sure each student can identify all
rectangles, including the special rectangles called squares. Next have
students use a red crayon to circle the special rectangles that are
squares. Remind them that a square has 4 sides that are the same
length. Walk around the room making sure each student can distinguish
between squares and rectangles.
As a class take a walk around the school looking for rectangles and
special rectangles called squares. When one is identified, explore the
shape and decide if it meets the criteria of a rectangle or square. Any
shape identified as a square can also be correctly identified as a
rectangle. If students find a square, ask what other name we can give
that shape? [Rectangle.] Why is it both? [Because a square is a special
rectangle.] Examples of things you may see around the school are doors,
signs, and tiles.
Next take pictures with students pointing to the shapes. Print pictures and have them ready for the next day’s lesson.
As a class, use the pictures from the walk around school and have
students sort them into special rectangles called squares and other
rectangles. As they sort pictures, ask students why they think it is a
rectangle or square. Encourage them to use vocabulary such as straight
lines, corners, etc….
Construct a class book of special rectangles called squares and
other rectangles. Allow students to glue and label the pictures. Share
book during circle time allowing students to describe the pictures and
justifying the decisions they made when determining if it was a
rectangle or a special rectangle called a square.
The students will enjoy looking at their pictures and interacting
with the book. This book will get looked at over and over therefore
making it a great review of rectangles and squares, and how these
shapes are represented in the world around them.
Questions for Students
1. How many straight sides does a rectangle and square have?
2. When two sides meet they form a?
3. How many corners or vertices does the rectangle and square have?
4. What makes the square a special rectangle?
[All four sides are the same length.]
5. What kind of squares did we find around the school?
[Answers should reflect their pictures.]
6. What kind of rectangles did we find around the school?
[Answers should reflect their pictures.]
- Were the students able to construct rectangles and squares using the pretzels?
- Were the students able to distinguish between the two shapes and color them the correct color?
- Did all students participate in finding squares and rectangles around the school?
- Were they able to use the information they learned about rectangles
to differentiate between the two shapes as you explored the school
- Were the students able to use the correct vocabulary when describing the two shapes?
- Did all students participate in sorting the pictures for the class book?
- Were all students excited to revisit the class book of rectangles and squares?
- Name, describe and sort squares and rectangles. Use manipulatives to build squares and rectangles
- Recognize these shapes in their environment
Common Core State Standards – Mathematics
-Kindergarten, Measurement & Data
Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
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.
Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/''corners'') and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length).
Grade 2, Geometry
Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces. Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.
Common Core State Standards – Practice
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Model with mathematics.
Use appropriate tools strategically.
Look for and make use of structure.