EL Support Lesson

Describing Angles

You'll see angles from every angle! Students will describe and compare different angles they see in everyday situations. Use this lesson on its own or use it as support to the lesson Classifying Triangles by Internal Angles.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Classifying Triangles by Internal Angles lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Classifying Triangles by Internal Angles lesson plan.

Students will be able to sort triangles based on features of their internal angles.


Students will be able to describe angles using hand motions, images, and sentence frames.

(3 minutes)
  • Use familiar objects that have angles (e.g., high heel, paper corners, the letter K, the letter Z, the letter V, scissors, clock, etc.) and ask them to turn and talk to their elbow partner about what angles they see in the objects. Monitor their conversation for key terms such as "obtuse," "acute," "right angles," "sides," "larger," "smaller," etc., as a way to gain information about their background knowledge.
  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) or new language (L2) and use cognates for the word "angle" (e.g., ángulo for Spanish) as appropriate.
  • Write the student-friendly language objective on the board: "I can describe and identify angles using hand motions and key terms," and ask for a volunteer to read the objective to the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Review the angles shown in the familiar objects and define each of the terms. Ask students to repeat the definitions and copy your hand motions to represent each angle as they repeat the definition.
  • Use the vocabulary cards for the words obtuse angle, acute angles, and right angles as visual aids and ask students to create angles with their arms as you say the name of the angle. (Tip: you can use an analog clock and move the hand to create the angles you say aloud.)
  • Explain that you can see angles in many everyday objects that support structures. Ask them to look at a door frame and tell you the angle they see (i.e., right angle). Ask students to turn and talk about why they think a door has right angles instead of obtuse or acute angles. Allow a student to share the group response.
(10 minutes)
  • Display one of the images from the Angles: Which Doesn't Belong? worksheet. Model identifying the angles within the picture and writing sentences about the angles on the board (e.g., "In image four, there are many right angles because it looks like it has perpendicular lines and rectangles. It also has three lines that intersect at two points and create two right angles.").
  • Distribute the images from the Angles: Which Doesn't Belong? worksheet and three sticky notes per partnership. Ask students to work together to identify and describe the angles they see in the images. Encourage them to draw and label the images as necessary.
  • Write the following sentence frames on the board to support their descriptions:
    • "I see a ____ angle ____ (location)."
    • "I know it's a ____ angle because ____."
    • "I know picture number ____ doesn't belong because ____."
  • Review the answers as a whole class and write some of the exemplary descriptions of the pictures on the board.
(9 minutes)
  • Have students work in partnerships to sort the images from the Angles: Which Doesn't Belong? worksheet into two categories. Then, ask them to label the categories themselves. Allow students to have two groups of any number as long as they can justify their answer. One example answer is a general category with angles versus non-angles.
  • Allow partnerships to share with another group their categories and vice versa. Suggest they use the sentence frames from the board and the vocabulary cards in their descriptions if necessary.
  • Choose one or two partnerships to share their categories aloud. Try to choose partnerships that have different categories to highlight the varying thought processes.


  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) or their new language (L2) in all discussions.
  • Encourage them to use the vocabulary cards and terms in their conversations and writing. Allow them to draw pictures to support their understanding of the terms.
  • Provide reference materials in their L1 to assist in their vocabulary word acquisition.
  • Allow students to draw the shapes on the vocabulary cards as they solidify their understanding of the meanings.
  • Create a list of questions they should answer for the assessment section and allow them to share their ideas orally before completing a sentence frame. Alternatively, record their response with audio or by writing it yourself to serve as their assessment.


  • Encourage students to describe the differences between the angles and places they see angles in everyday life.
  • Pair them with mixed ability groups so they can offer explanations and provide feedback to beginning ELs when appropriate.
  • Allow them to look in kid-friendly magazines to find angles and shapes. Have them sort the angles based on their estimated degree measurement.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card and ask students to write a description of an angle of their choice. For example, if they choose a right angle, have them describe the angles, where they may see the angle in an everyday situation, and how it is different from an obtuse and acute angle.
  • List this checklist on the board:
    1. "How do you know the angle name?"
    2. "How is the angle different from the other angles?"
    3. "Where might you see this angle?"
(3 minutes)
  • Ask the following question: "Why is it important to identify the right type of angle?" Suggest students think about the picture of the different angles they've seen already, or even in everyday scenarios and have students turn to their elbow partners to share their answers.
  • Allow students to share their ideas aloud and encourage them to use vocabulary from the day's lesson.
  • Remind students that angles are important for many different professions, such as carpentry (e.g., creating a door frame), engineering (e.g., designing a bridge), and astronomy (e.g., angling the telescope to see the stars).

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