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National Curriculum: Geometry - Properties of Shapes - Year 1 - Activities

Created on 23 October 2013 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 03 February 2014 by ncetm_administrator


Programmes of Study statements Activities
recognise and name common 2-D and 3-D shapes, including:
  • 2-D shapes (e.g. rectangles [including squares], circles and triangles)
  • 3-D shapes (e.g. cuboids [including cubes], pyramids and spheres)
bullet bullet bullet bullet bullet bullet

A key point is to avoid stereotypical prototypes; children need to see a range of shapes, e.g. different types of triangles, in different orientations [often, children fail to recognise a square if it is rotated by 45 degrees, and label it as a ‘diamond’


Activity A – Shape sorting

Make use of feely bags/boxes, sorting ‘everyday objects’ like shells, food containers etc. Explore shape families – putting all the 4 sided figures together, pointing out that a square is also a rectangle [ and a parallelogram…]

‘Snowball activity’ – choose a shape, record something about it, then talk to a partner, find one thing that is different about your shapes? Now get into groups of 4 what is the same about your shapes?

Activity B – Matching Triangles

An excellent problem solving activity which challenges children’s perception that a triangle has to have a horizontal base.


Activity C - Let’s investigate triangles

This activity involves children using plastic geostrips to investigate triangles with sides of different lengths.


Activity D - Making pictures

Encourage the children to use shapes to make pictures – mosaic pieces, sticky paper shapes, ‘fuzzy felts’. Can they make an animal with a circular head, a triangular body etc… Ask the children to make ‘ruler’ pictures –use a ruler to draw a series of intersecting lines and to colour in each enclosed shape, talking about the properties of these shapes and naming them as they do so.

Allow children to print with 3D shapes, making 2D images of the faces on the 3D shape. Which shapes have square faces? Did you print with any shapes with circular faces? What happens when you print with a sphere? A cylinder?

Fold paper in half, in different ways. If they make one fold on a square, what shapes can they make? Can they make one fold and make a four sided shape that isn’t a rectangle? –

Tangrams are a wonderful way of exploring the properties of a square along with developing their visualisation skills. Nrich provide a good starting point although many more tangram related resources are available online.

Activity E - Shape hunts

Allow the children to hunt for shapes in their local environment, at school and at home. They could be given ‘detective kits’ (either images or simple sentences) to help with their identification. Give the children cameras to record their findings and share these with others, once back in the classroom.

Activity F - Elastic shapes

Use elastic bands to create different shapes on your own hand or pegged boards and elastic bands. Move on to making large scale shapes with large elastic loops, on a large floor grid, standing at intersections. These shapes can then be rotated or copied by another group. Change the shape by adding another person – another side and another corner.


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18 June 2014 16:26
Great stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)
By becbob123
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