February 23, 2017
by Jasmine Gibson

Lesson plan

Dividing Clay Shapes

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Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify shapes that are cut into equal and unequal quarters.

(10 minutes)
  • Display pre-cut shapes that have been divided equally and unequally on the board.
  • Write three columns near the shapes and label them “See, Think, Wonder.”
  • Use the Harvard Project Zero See/Think/Wonder thinking routine (described below) to generate ideas about today’s lesson.
  • Ask your students what they see displayed on the board. Encourage them to only state what they can visually see and record their thinking under the “See” column.
    • For example: I see shapes, I see lines on some shapes, I see a red square, etc.
  • Ask your students what they think about the images displayed on the board. Record their thinking under the “Think” column. Encourage them to finish the statement, “I think….” Responses might include: "I think some shapes are divided equally and some aren’t," "I think we are learning about shapes," etc.
  • Ask your students what they wonder about the images displayed on the board. Record their thinking under the “Wonder” column. Encourage them to use the sentence frame, “I wonder….”
    • For example: "I wonder if we are learning about shapes," "I wonder what why some of the shapes have lines in them," etc.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today you will be practicing dividing shapes into four equal quarters. Remind your students that equal means that each part is the same size. You can also say, “A quarter is the same as one fourth of a shape. For example, if I cut this circle into four equal parts, then each part is called a quarter or one fourth.”
  • Point to one of the shapes partitioned unequally and have your students describe the pieces. Point out that the parts are different or unequal which means that they are different sizes.
  • Sort the shapes displayed into two groups on the board: Those partitioned equally and those partitioned unequally. Point the difference out to your students and ask for their assistance as you are sorting. They could give a thumbs up if the shape is equal and a thumbs down if the shape is unequal.
(5 minutes)
  • Point to the group of shapes partitioned equally and ask your students to notice how many pieces each shape has.
  • Remind your students that today you are looking for shapes divided into four equal quarters.
  • Invite students to come up to the board and point to the shapes that are divided into four equal quarters.
  • Circle the shapes that students identify.
  • Explain how to label the divided shapes as ¼ or 4 quarters.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain that students will get to divide their own shapes into four equal quarters using modeling clay.
  • Show students how to roll the clay into a ball and then roll it out on a table or other surface. Use the top of the wide-mouth jar to make a circle in the clay.
  • Demonstrate how to use the plastic knife to cut your circle in two halves, then cut again to make four quarters.
  • Display the Dividing Shapes worksheet and demonstrate how to record your shape by drawing your clay shape with lines to show how it is divided. Then demonstrate how to finish the sentence starter, “My circle is divided into ...”
  • Explain that students will get to work with a partner to create and divide their own shapes into quarters. Then they will individually complete the recording sheet to show their work.
  • Arrange students into groups of two and pass out materials to each group.
  • Circulate around the room to support students as needed.


  • Pass out the shapes divided into fourths from the equal shape image set and ask students to recreate the shapes using clay.
  • Provide small group of students with complete equal/unequal shape set and have them sort the shapes into equal and unequal groups. Work with students to identify which shapes are divided into four quarters.


  • Encourage students to draw additional shapes on a second recording sheet and divide each shape into halves, quarters, and thirds. Have students label each shape using mathematical language.
  • Provide students with the Four Equal Quarters worksheet to complete.
(10 minutes)
  • Informally assess your students' understanding by circulating around the room during independent work time. Ask students to explain how they divided their shapes.
  • Collect worksheets and determine if students were able to accurately draw and divide shapes into four equal quarters.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite your students to place their worksheets next to their clay shapes.
  • Ask students to walk around the room and participate in a “Gallery Walk” to see the shapes and labels their classmates created.
  • Get your students' attention and close by pointing out one or two student examples of circles divided equally into four quarters.

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