Guess My Rule

Guess My Rule

The teacher sorts three or four shapes into two categories according to a secret rule they have determined ahead of time (for example, triangles vs. rectangles). Then, the teacher asks children to guess their rule and figure out which category each additional shape should be sorted into. Once most children appear to have figured out the rule, the teacher asks the children to Think-Pair-Share to describe it. The teacher then plays again with another rule.

Primary Objective

• Identifying shapes and describing the characteristics of shapes
• Sorting shapes based on different rules, such as shape family (for example, triangles vs. rectangles), geometric features (for example, shapes with four sides/angles vs. shapes with five sides/angles), and geometric properties (for example, shapes with four equal length sides vs. shapes without)

How to use

1. First, introduce the activity to the WHOLE GROUP.
2. Then, engage children in the activity in SMALL GROUPS.
3. Once the children are very familiar with the activity, they can play it independently at CENTER TIME with slight modifications.

This activity can be adapted to make it easier or harder, depending on children’s current shape knowledge. If the activity seems too easy for children, try some of the Make It Harder challenges. If it’s too difficult, try some of the Make It Easier suggestions.

Materials

• Set of at least 15 shapes. You can use pattern blocks, tangrams, attribute blocks, and/or shapes you make from foam board or cardstock.
• Shape Sorting Mats (two sheets of paper of different colors)
• Think-Pair-Share Cards
• Listen and Speak Cards

Teacher Resources

• Sorting Rules: Ideas for sorting rules, organized by level of difficulty to adapt to children’s current shape knowledge
• Shape Glossary: Sample language to use when describing shapes to children
• Think-Pair-Share: Sample language to use when introducing the Think-Pair-Share concept to children

Explore the Executive Function and Math Skills in This Activity

Steps of the activity

The activity steps icons below outline the steps of the activity. Print these icons as cards and share them to help children remember the steps. They’re also a helpful scaffold for children!

Find a sample script for teachers to use here.

Setup 1

Gather 15 shapes and two pieces of blank paper in two different colors.

Step 1

Teacher sorts four shapes based on the predetermined sorting rule.

Step 2

Teacher holds up the next shape and asks children to figure out where the shape belongs by guessing the sorting rule.

Step 3

Teacher verifies the correct answer and places the shape, continuing with more shapes until children can verbalize the rule.
Instructions

Instructions for introducing the activity to the Whole Group .

Explore The Executive Function And Math Skills In This Activity

What to do next

Do some children need more support or more challenge? Try the adaptation ideas to make the activity easier or harder. On another day, do this activity in Small Group

This activity can be scaffolded to support all children’s shape knowledge. If the activity seems too easy for children, try some of the Make It Harder challenges. If it’s too difficult, try some of the Make It Easier suggestions.

Materials

• Shape set of at least 15 shapes. You can use pattern blocks, tangrams, attribute blocks, and/or shapes you make yourself from foam board or cardstock.
• Shape Sorting Mats (two sheets of paper of different colors)
• Think-Pair-Share cards
• Listen and Speak cards

Teacher Resources

• Sorting Rules: Ideas for sorting rules, organized by level of difficulty to adapt to children’s current shape knowledge
• Shape Glossary: Sample language to use when describing shapes to children
• Think-Pair-Share: Sample language to use when introducing the Think-Pair-Share concept to children

Explore the Executive Function and Math Skills in This Activity

Steps of the activity

The activity steps icons below outline the steps of the activity. Print these icons as cards and share them to help children remember the steps. They’re also a helpful scaffold for children!

Find a sample script for teachers to use here.

Setup 1

Gather 15 shapes and two pieces of blank paper in two different colors.

Step 1

Teacher sorts four shapes based on the predetermined sorting rule.

Step 2

Teacher holds up the next shape and asks children to figure out where the shape belongs by guessing the sorting rule.

Step 3

Teacher verifies the correct answer and places the shape, continuing with more shapes until children can verbalize the rule.
Instructions

Instructions for introducing the activity to the Small Group.