Lesson Plan:

How Many Squares?

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February 23, 2017
by Jasmine Gibson
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February 23, 2017
by Jasmine Gibson

Learning Objectives

Students will learn out how to partition a rectangle using by partitioning shapes with rows and columns.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Display a large rectangle on the projector using a piece of paper or pre-cut rectangle.
  • Say, “This is my birthday cake. I want to see how many pieces of cake I have to share. Each piece needs to be this big (hold up a square color tile). How can I figure out how many pieces of cake there are?”
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to share their ideas. Then invite a few pairs to share their thinking with the class. Ideas might include: tracing the tiles, creating columns or rows of squares, or guessing.
  • Explain that today you are going to practice dividing something into equal pieces.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Demonstrate how to partition the birthday cake into pieces by creating columns and rows using the color tiles.
  • Point to the columns and explain that they are called columns, a column is a number of items in a straight vertical line. Point to the rows and explain that a row is a number of things in a straight horizontal line. Explain that we use both rows and columns as a way to group something together to organize it.
  • Use the think aloud strategy to show how you can determine how many rows, columns, and total number of cake pieces you have.
  • Explain to the class that you have just partitioned your cake. Partition means to divide something into equal pieces.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Display another blank rectangle on the projector.
  • Ask your students how they could partition the rectangle using four rows and four columns.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to share their ideas.
  • Invite one or two students to come to the front of the class and demonstrate how they would partition the rectangle using the color tiles.
  • Support the students by counting each row and column and helping them figure out the total number of squares in the rectangle.
  • Tell the students that they will now get to practice partitioning a shape on their own.

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Pass out the Divide It!: Rows and Columns worksheet and explain that students can use any of the math manipulatives you have provided (snap cubes, square color tiles, pre-cut paper squares, or similar material used for counting squares) to answer the questions.




  • Gather a small group of students together to complete the worksheet as a group.
  • Use graph paper to help students visualize the rows and columns, outline a rectangle and have students color in the squares.


  • Have students complete the How Big is Your Room worksheet as an extension to this lesson.


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • While students are working independently, ask them guiding questions about their work.
    • How many columns are there? How many rows? How do you know? How many total squares are there? How can you double check your work?
  • Collect student work samples to check for accuracy at the end of the lesson.

Review and Closing (5 minutes)

  • Display one or two student worksheets on the projector.
  • Identify the number of columns, rows, and total number of squares on the worksheet.
  • Answer any of your students' questions as needed.

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