Geometry is one of my favorite standards to teach, and classifying 2D shapes with these fun error analysis activities makes it even better! I think 3rd graders love it, too – because they’ve been playing with shapes their entire life!
Common Core Standards – 3rd Grade
The Common Core standard for this skill is:
3.GA.1: Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g. rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g. having four sides) and that the shared attributes can define a large category (e.g. quadrilaterals). Recognize that rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of these subcategories.
What 3rd Graders Know and Need to Know
Coming into 3rd grade, most students know these geometric shapes:
Now, they need to go a step further and learn about how to classify these shapes into categories such as quadrilaterals and equilaterals. Most importantly, they will learn that polygons are plane figures with angles and at least 3 straight sides and that these shapes can be put into different categories.
2D Shapes Reference Chart
One of the tools that I think really helps students learn the attributes of these shapes and categories is to create an anchor chart with them. But I also like to give each student a Plane Shapes Reference Chart for their math notebook. With these in hand, they pretty quickly learn all the names of the plane shapes along with their attributes.
Hands-On 2D Shapes: Sorting and Classifying
Hands-on math activities are a great way to engage students and reinforce their understanding of key math concepts. When it comes to teaching geometry, 2D shapes are a fundamental concept that can be reinforced through hands-on activities. Sorting and classifying 2D shapes is a great way to help students identify their attributes and understand their characteristics.
Using hands-on activities, such as pattern block manipulatives or cut-out shapes, students can sort and classify the shapes based on their attributes, such as the number of sides, angles, and symmetry.
By allowing students to manipulate physical objects, they can better visualize and understand the attributes and characteristics of 2D shapes.
Problem Solving Activities
Once students have learned attributes for the 2D shapes and have had time to sort and classify them by the number of sides, the number of angles, and whether they have sets of parallel lines, they are ready to take it up a notch.
One of the activities that I love to use for that added rigor is error analysis. I LOVE error analysis! Error analysis math activities are more engaging for students because they challenge them to think critically and identify errors in problem-solving. This type of activity also provides an opportunity for students to work collaboratively and communicate their reasoning, which leads to deeper learning and retention of mathematical concepts.
BUT – the best part of this – KIDS love to find errors!
Classifying 2D Shapes Error Analysis Activity
This set of 36 error analysis task cards is formatted to give your students multiple ways to classify 2D shapes. Using their reference chart, your students will determine if the attributes listed on the task card are true or false.
You can use these task cards in several ways:
2D Shapes True or False Sorting Activity
2D Shapes Error Analysis – Why is it true or false?
The way they will work this out is on the worksheet pictured below. They will complete these steps:
- Draw and label the shape(s).
- List their attributes.
- Determine if the statement was true or false.
- Write to explain and defend their decision using geometry vocabulary.
You are going to LOVE seeing how they learn to write about their math thinking AND how this activity encourages them to use math vocabulary!
The task cards have several different options for how they compare and classify plane shapes and include triangles which are not part of the standard – but help them differentiate (and classify) the number of sides and angles versus quadrilaterals.
This classifying 2D shapes error analysis resource will add another level of rigor to your math activities. When introducing error analysis – start at the whole group level by modeling your thinking. Then give students support as they work on this activity. Finally – put it in your math centers. Students can practice this activity multiple times to get the most benefit from it.
If you would like to use an activity with a high level of rigor that includes writing in math – click here.
After your students have mastered the skill of classifying and sorting 2D shapes and you want to review with them – this fun 2D Shapes Jeopardy game is the perfect whole-group activity! Kids love to play Jeopardy games, and this one gives them the fun and the important review all in one!
Thanks for reading!
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.Robert John Meehan
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