EL Support Lesson

Naming Shapes and their Attributes

Teach your students about the attributes that make each shape unique. Use this as a stand alone lesson or as a pre-lesson for *Are You Connected to Me?*
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Are You Connected to Me? lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Are You Connected to Me? lesson plan.

Students will be able to draw and recognize attributes of a quadrilateral, trapezoid, kite, parallelogram, rhombus, rectangle, and square.


Students will be able to explain the attributes of a variety of shapes using content-specific vocabulary and peer supports.

(3 minutes)
  • Display a real-life image in the shape of a rectangle (e.g., an image of a picture frame or door), and have the attributes labeled underneath it (e.g., four sides, four right angles, opposite sides are parallel, opposite sides are equal in length). Do not include the name of the shape on the board.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner to discuss the shape based on the information on the board. Ask them if there is anything missing.
  • Explain that today's lesson will be looking at shapes closely to determine the attributes that make them special. Define attributes as the characteristics or qualities. Provide an example of an attribute of a student in the class. Say, "An attribute of this student is that she has brown hair. Does anyone else have that attrtibute?"
(7 minutes)
  • Explain that the example in the Introduction gave a lot of information about the shape, but the missing information was the name of the shape. Share that it is important to know the names of shapes, as well as the attributes, so that we can identify real-life examples of those shapes in our everyday lives.
  • Teach the vocabulary for today's lesson using the teacher set of the Vocabulary Cards. Display each of the words and read each word aloud. Have the students repeat the word aloud. Do the same for the definition for each word. Then, discuss the images and how they connect to the definition.
  • Distribute a copy of the Glossary to each student. Go through the labels for each column to explain what information can be found on the Glossary. Then, have them label the last column as "Practice." Instruct students to practice drawing an image for each of the tiered words.
  • Model finding an example of an angle in the classroom and explaining how you know it's an angle. Ask students to share if they found any other examples of angles.
  • Put students into small groups and have them go through the list of words on the Glossary and identify an example in the classroom, if possible. Provide a sentence frame to support their conversation, such as "An example of ____ is ____." Optional: Take pictures of the examples students find in the classroom to use on a bulletin board of real-life examples.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the class that you have a fun activity that students will participate in today with problems that are missing some important information, but first, they need to know how the activity works!
  • Explain that they will be put into A-B partnerships for the Information Gap Cards activity. Display the following steps on an anchor chart for students to reference during the activity:
    • Read, then think aloud: Partner A reads the card silently and thinks aloud about what information is needed. Partner B reads the data card silently.
    • Question 1: Partner B asks, "What specific information do you need?" Partner A asks Partner B for specific information.
    • Question 2: When Partner A asks, Partner B should ask, "Why do you need that information?" before sharing the information with Partner A.
    • Explanations: Partner A explains how the information will be used to solve the problem. Partner B helps and asks for explanations, even if they understand what Partner A is doing.
  • Model the process of the Information Gap Cards activity, and engage the class in collectively being Partner B while you demonstrate how to be Partner A.
    • Display the Example 1 card for Partner A from the Shapes Information Gap Cards worksheet. Explain that the card has Partner A, a shape with some attributes, and a question on it.
    • Display the Example 1 card for Partner B from the worksheet. Explain that this will be the card that Partner B has, and it has the missing information that Partner A needs.
    • Instruct the class to say, "What specific information do you need?" in unison.
    • Say, "I have a shape here, and I know that the attributes include four sides, four angles, and that the opposite sides are equal in length. The question is asking me to name the shape, but I don't know the last attribute. If I'm going to name the shape, I need to know the last attribute. Do you have the word to complete this attribute?"
    • Instruct the class to say, "Why do you need that information?"
    • Say, "I need the missing word so I can find out the last attribute. Then, with all the attributes I can name the shape."
    • Instruct the class to say, "Parallel" in unison.
    • Say, "Thank you! Now that I have the missing word, I know that the attribute is that the opposite sides are parallel. That helps me know that this shape is a rectangle."
  • Explain that while Partner A is solving the problem aloud, Partner B can chime in to help and also ask questions.
  • Put students into A-B partnerships and give each student a card from the Shape Information Gap Cards worksheet. Tell them that Partner A has the shape, attributes, and the question on it, while Partner B has the information that would complete Partner A's card.
  • Have students begin the Information Gap activity, and remind them not to write on the cards because they will be used again. Circulate to offer support and provide feedback. Be sure to notice the language that students use, and remind them to reference the process chart (anchor chart or written on the board) as they go through each step of the activity.
  • Collect the cards and give each partnership a new set of cards. Have the partners swap roles, so that Partner B now has the opportunity to explain.
  • Gather students' attention and call on a partnership to explain how they solved for the area of their rectangle. Ask peers to share whether they agree or disagree with the answer. Provide sentence stems/frames to support students' explanations:
    • The shape is a ____ because ____.
    • I agree/disagree because ____.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have students include the vocabulary word in their L1 on the Glossary.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.
  • Group students intentionally based on academic and language needs.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(4 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card and have them draw a shape that they discussed during the Information Gap activity.
  • Instruct learners to:
    • Label the shape.
    • Write down the attributes.
    • Include two real-life examples of that shape.
(4 minutes)
  • Ask students to turn and share their index card with a partner. Have them use the following sentence stems/frames to support conversation:
    • This shape is ____.
    • The attributes include ____.
    • A real-life example of ____ is ____.
  • Remind learners that the attributes of a shape make it unique to its name, but that there are some overlapping attributes. Have them share out any of their initial ideas about which shapes are alike and how they are slightly different from each other. Ask: What keeps these shapes from being classified with the same name?

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