Building a Tower with Shapes

Area: Geometry and Spatial Sense
Skill: Shape Recognition and Properties
Key Targeted Strategies:
  • Encourage children to compose and decompose shapes
Foundational Strategies:
  • Modeling and using math language
  • Extending mathematical thinking

What to Look for in This Clip:

Composing shapes involves inviting students to put together smaller shapes to make a larger shape. Encouraging students to do this broadens their understanding of shapes and the relationships between them.

In this clip, we see a teacher and student working together to build a tower using square magnetic shape tiles. The student independently figures out that she can combine two of the triangle tiles to create a square tile. The teacher uses this opportunity to encourage the child to compose shapes by praising her work. She also takes the opportunity to use math language by saying, "That was such a good idea! You put two triangles together and you made a square." This helps the student connect each shape to its corresponding name. The teacher also extends the student's mathematical thinking by reinforcing the idea that certain shapes can compose other shapes. She does this by modeling what the student did to make the square and saying, "These two triangles, that made a square."