# What Shape Am I Touching?

#### Describing Shapes

The teacher hides a shape in the Shape Box. Then, one child feels the shape and describes it to their partner, without saying the shape name. The other child tries to guess the shape name based on their partner’s description. Children switch roles and play again with another shape.

Primary Objective

• Using essential, defining features to name and describe shapes (for example, triangles have three straight sides and three angles)
• Understanding shape properties, or the relationship between parts of shapes (for example, squares have four side of equal lengths)

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.

If some students cannot match most shapes, you might want to preview the Matching Shapes version of the activity. If most children can match most shapes but are not yet able to name most shapes correctly or describe shape families (for example, triangle) by their defining features of sides and angles (for example, all triangles have three sides and three angles), you might want to preview the Naming Shapes version.

Materials

• One shape set of six to eight shapes per pair of children. You can use pattern blocks, tangrams, and/or attribute blocks. You can make your own shapes out of foam board. We do not recommend paper shapes.
• Shape Box: Children should be able to reach into the box with both hands, but not see inside
• Shape and Shape Box role cards
• Think-Pair-Share cards

Teacher Resources

• Shape glossary handout: This provides sample language to use when describing shapes to children
• Think-Pair-Share Handout: This provides sample language to use when introducing Think-Pair-Share 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.

Step 1

Teacher hides a shape in the Shape Box while children close their eyes.

Step 2

Teacher feels the shape inside the box and describes it to children, without saying the shape name.

Step 3

Children try to figure out which shape is in the box based on the description.

Step 4

Teacher takes the shape out of the box to confirm the answer.
##### Instructions

Instructions for introducing the activity to the Whole Group.

 Activity Set-Up Gather the shape set you plan to use. Adjust the Challenge MAKE IT EASIER Math: use familiar shapes (for example, circles, triangles, squares, rectangles). Math & EF: use only easier examples of shapes (for example, an equilateral triangle with all sides of the same length). MAKE IT HARDER Math: use less familiar shapes (for example, hexagons, trapezoids). Math & EF: use more difficult examples of shapes (for example, a long, skinny triangle). Activity Warm-Up Today, we’re going to do an activity with shapes. First, we’re going to talk about the shapes we’re going to use today, then you can feel and look at them. Using shapes from the shape set, show examples of shapes you will be using during the activity. Name the shapes that will be focused on during the activity. Then, pass out the shapes and let children freely explore and play with them for a few minutes. If you’re introducing new shapes to children, consider using the Shape glossary handout for language, tips, and examples. Introduce the Activity We’re going to play a shape game! I’m going to hide a shape in the box, then I’ll describe it to you and you have to try to guess the name of the shape. Let’s practice together! Show children the Shape Box and shape set shapes. Model the Activity Let me show you how to do it! First, everyone close your eyes while I hide a shape! Now, open your eyes! Point to the first activity step icon card. Put one shape in the box. Choose a shape you think most children will know based on their shape knowledge. Adjust the Challenge MAKE IT EASIER EF: use the activity step icons. MAKE IT HARDER EF: omit the activity step icons. Next, I’m going to tell you about the shape and you have to try to guess what it is. Point to the second activity step icon card. For example: This shape has 1, 2, 3, 4 angles and 1, 2, 3, 4 sides. And all of the sides are of the same length. Model how you describe the defining features of the shape while feeling it in the box. Then, you guess what shape I’m hiding. What am I hiding? Point to the third activity step icon card. Allow children to respond. Then, I take the shape out of the box and we check to see if you were right. Let’s see what it was… it was a square! Point to the fourth activity step icon card. Take the shape out of the box and say its name. Now, Think-Pair-Share with your partner. How did you know it was a square? Ask children how they knew it was a square. If any children provided incorrect guesses, explain how the shape(s) they guessed are different from the one you described. Review Think-Pair-Share as necessary. Adjust the Challenge MAKE IT EASIER EF: use the Think-Pair-Share cards. MAKE IT HARDER EF: omit the Think-Pair-Share cards. Let’s play again! Hide another shape and play again, continuing for as long as time allows.

Explore The Executive Function And Math Skills In This Activity

Math Learning Trajectories
• 2-D Shape levels
##### What to do next

Are some students ready for more challenge? Try the adaptations provided for Whole Group. On another day, play in pairs in Small Group

If some students cannot match most shapes, they might benefit from the Matching Shapes version of the activity. If most children can match most shapes but are not yet able to name most shapes correctly or describe shape families (for example, triangle) by their defining features of sides and angles (for example, all triangles have three sides and three angles), they may benefit from the Naming Shapes version.

Materials

• One shape set of six to eight shapes per pair of children. You can use pattern blocks, tangrams, and/or attribute blocks. You can make your own shapes out of foam board. We do not recommend paper shapes.
• Shape Box: Children should be able to reach into the box with both hands, but not see inside.
• Shapes and Shape Box role cards

Teacher Resources

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.

Step 1

The teacher hides a shape in the Shape Box while both children close their eyes.

Step 2

Child 1 feels the shape inside the box and describes it to Child 2, without saying the shape name.

Step 3

Child 2 tries to figure out which shape is in the box based on the description.

Step 4

Child 1 pulls the shape out of the box to check whether Child 1 was correct.

Step 5

Children switch roles and play again. The teacher continues to be the hider.
##### Instructions

Instructions for introducing the activity to the Small Group.

Explore The Executive Function And Math Skills In This Activity

Math Learning Trajectories
• 2-D Shape levels
##### What to do next

Did some students need more support or more challenge? Try some of the adaptations provided above for Small Group. Continue working in Small Groups with teacher support until students can comfortably play with minimal teacher guidance. Then have students practice the activity independently in Center

Did some students play the Matching Shapes or Naming Shapes versions in a Small Group? If so, they should also play that version during Center. Don’t forget, children should play What Shape Am I Touching? in Small Group before playing in Center!

Materials

• One set of six to eight shapes per pair of children. You can use pattern blocks, tangrams, and/or attribute blocks. You can make your own shapes out of foam board. We do not recommend paper shapes.
• Shape Box: Children should be able to reach into the box with both hands, but not see inside.
• Shape and Shape Box role cards
##### 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.

Step 1

Child 1 hides a shape in the box while Child 2 closes their eyes.

Step 2

Child 2 feels in the Shape Box with both hands and feels the shape. Before pulling out the shape, Child 2 names the shape. (Note: These rules are simplified from what children did in Small Group since they are working independently.)

Step 3

Child 2 checks with Child 1 to see if they are correct. Child 1 confirms.

Step 4

Children switch roles.
##### Instructions

Instructions for introducing the activity to the Center.

 Activity Set-Up Gather the shape set you plan to use. Do not provide all the shapes at one time. Set them out in front of students along with the Shape Box. Adjust the Challenge MAKE IT EASIER Math: use familiar shapes (for example, circles, triangles, squares, rectangles). Math & EF: use only easier examples of shapes (for example, an equilateral triangle with all sides of the same length). MAKE IT HARDER Math: use less familiar shapes (for example, hexagons, trapezoids). Math & EF:  use more difficult examples of shapes (for example, a long, skinny triangle). Introduce the Activity Today, the Shape Box shape describing game we’ve been playing together will be at [name] Center! Tell students that the activity will be in Centers to play on their own. We recommend playing the activity in Small Groups at least once before introducing it in Centers. You will have the picture cards to help you remember how to play and to remind you whether you are the shape hider or the shape namer. Center Set-Up Let’s remind ourselves how to play the game! Adjust the Challenge MAKE IT EASIER EF: use the activity step icons or use the role cards. MAKE IT HARDER EF: omit the activity step icons or omit the role cards.

Explore The Executive Function And Math Skills In This Activity

Math Learning Trajectories
• 2-D Shape levels
##### What to do next

Keep playing this activity in Centers throughout the year. Do some students need more support or more challenge? Try the adaptations provided above for Center.

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