Making Space for Geometry

Resource Info

Basic Information

Geometry is the science of shapes and space and is important for children’s mathematical concept building because it is a part of everyday life. Real-life activities such as art design or trying to arrange objects to fit into a certain space are geometrical in nature and provide a host of opportunities for children to participate in mathematical inquiry.

05 hours 00 mins

Mathematics need not be the bugbear that it is made out to be. A lively game will enthuse students and ensure their participation and interaction, and result in the effective learning of mathematical concepts.

  • Children will learn to identify different shapes
  • Group activity will enhance learning of concepts
  • Children will also learn to sort and classify
  • Children will begin to use simple words in English to improve their vocabulary
Activity Steps: 

Making space for geometry

For the most part, primary school teachers teach little geometry. The emphasis is more on number and operations. Problem solving, reasoning, communicating are all part of geometry. Geometrical models help children understand other mathematical content.

 In the early kindergarten stage, shapes are important mathematically because geometric ideas begin with understanding of shapes and their attributes. Typically students learn to give names to a variety of shapes such as rectangle, square, circle, sphere, etc., and learn a few basic ideas about area and perimeter.

Children learn best when they are involved in the process of teaching and learning. While teaching geometry to primary school children we can engage with them in various activities that are joyful and interesting. The activities discussed in this article will also enhance the creative thinking of children.

Making pictures using geometrical shapes: We can ask children to make different pictures using geometrical shapes. It can be done in many ways, e.g., asking them to make as many pictures as they can, using only triangles or circles or rectangles, etc. They can use any number of the given shape in any size.

Once they are through with making pictures using individual shapes, we can give them combinations of shapes to make pictures, e.g., make as many pictures as you can, using triangles and rectangles, triangles and circles, rectangles and circles, etc. We can use any number of combinations depending on the class we are teaching.

Shapes in day-to-day life: We can ask children to list all the things they use in everyday life and classify them as triangle, rectangle, circle, sphere, cylinder, cube, cone, etc. We can also give them a list of 50 to 100 common objects and ask them to categorize them.

In the playground: We can take all the children in the playground or some other open place and divide them into groups of 10 to 15 students each. Each group is allotted a working area, a meter scale, some nylon thread, two iron rods of 15 to 20 cm each and a cutter (adult supervision is essential while using the cutter). Each group is asked to draw a circle of given radius (maybe 3 to 4m)l, or any other geometric shape with given specification.

When the shape (say circle) is ready, they are asked to hold hands and stand on the circle. As soon as they are ready we can give the following instructions.

  1. Move clockwise/anticlockwise
  2. Jump in the circle
  3. Jump on the circle
  4. Jump out of the circle
  5. Arrange yourself to make the diameter of the circle

This game can be played in many ways with many shapes.

Stick game: In this game each child is given 15 to 20 sticks of different lengths. Be sure to give at least 5 pieces of each of the sizes. Children can then be asked to make equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles, parallelogram, trapezium, rectangle, etc.

Shape puzzle: In this game different types of triangles, circles, rectangles are drawn on a piece of cardboard and cut into many pieces, as in a jigsaw puzzle. These pieces can be given to the children and to reassemble.

Sort the shapes: Different geometric shapes and sizes are cut from cardboard and put in a box. The child is blindfolded and asked to pick up a piece from the box, and guess its shape by feeling it. You can make these shapes as simple or as complex as needed depending on the level of the class (e.g., different types of triangles and polygons).

These are just some activities that can help make geometry teaching joyful. You can probably think of many others, such as a geometry quiz or story telling using different shapes as characters or elements in the story. After all, geometry is all around us, we just have to apply our minds to it!

This article first appeared in Teacher Plus Vol V, Issue No.1, January –February 2007 and has been adapted here with changes.


madhavik's picture

making the shape with the children is an interesting activity . the childrens can have the pratical knowledge of all the shapes . circle with diameter and radius.

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