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Lesson Plan

Going on a Shape Hunt: Integrating Math and Literacy

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Cranston

Lisa Cranston

Comber, Ontario


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Identify specific two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric shapes appropriate for their grade level

  • Practice pattern recognition and classification by locating shapes in their environment

  • Develop literacy and critical-thinking skills by using words and pictures to describe the location of shapes

  • Use a variety of strategies to spell and write words

  • Synthesize what they have learned using a written reflection sheet

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Session 1

1. Gather students in a large group on the carpet. Review the names of the geometric shapes that they have been learning to activate their prior knowledge. You might choose to focus solely on two-dimensional shapes or solely on three-dimensional shapes, depending on what you have been talking about in class.

2. Read aloud the book that you have selected. The story should be read aloud in its entirety, pausing only to allow students to predict upcoming events. Predicting allows students to focus attention on reasoning, patterns, and problem solving while incorporating what they already know about geometric shapes with the ideas presented in the book.

It is important for this first reading to focus on enjoyment of the story and not on the mathematical content in order to take full advantage of literature's motivating influence on students.

3. Following the story, have students pair up and visit the Sammy's Shapes website where they can identify specific shapes appropriate for their grade level and locate and describe the shapes.

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Session 2

1. Reread the book from Session 1, focusing attention on the shapes. Stop and allow students to comment on the geometry that they notice in the illustrations.

2. Discuss the idea that shapes are not just in books but are all around us.

3. Introduce the Shape Hunt Chant. As you say the chant, hold up the model of a circle you have prepared for student reference. When you reach the line that says, "Do you see a circle?" ask students to point to a circle in the classroom. Finish the song.

You may wish to have students get up and move to the object they have selected instead of sitting on the carpet pointing. For example, when you say, "Do you see a circle?" pause and allow them to move to a location in the classroom where a circle is located. Once almost everyone is sitting by something, go on with "Yes, we see a circle." This is especially beneficial for students who are kinesthetic learners.

4. Start a list of objects that are circles in the classroom on chart paper. Model various strategies for spelling words. For example, "Maria is pointing at the clock. Can you all point to the word clock in our classroom? Right, it's on a red card beside the clock. You read the letters while I print them on the chart. Jose is pointing at a plate in our house center. I don't see that word anywhere in our classroom. Let's try to write it together. P-p-plate. What letter do I need to print at the beginning of the word plate?" Another strategy is to point out words that are on the classroom word wall or located on posters or in other environmental print.

5. Repeat the shape hunt chant. You can use the same shape and ask them to choose different objects. Or you can change the shape. If you do this, start a new list on another piece of chart paper.

You may want to limit the number of shapes to four or five, depending on how long each "hunt" takes the students. You might also choose to focus only on two-dimensional or only on three-dimensional shapes.

6. When you have gone through four or five shapes, you may choose to have students complete either the Two-Dimensional Task Sheet or the Three-Dimensional Task Sheet, depending on what is most appropriate. Remind them to use classroom labels, the word wall, personal dictionaries, the charts just created, and their ability to sound out words to help them complete their work.

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Session 3

Note: This session will take at least 60 minutes.

1. Review the charts that you created with your students in Session 2.

2. Inform students that they will be going on a shape hunt outside the classroom. Have them brainstorm some other areas in the school where they could look for shapes such as the office, the library, the gymnasium, the cafeteria, or the hallways.

3. You may choose to give each student a clipboard or portable writing surface, a pencil, and either the Two-Dimensional Task Sheet or the Three-Dimensional Task Sheet or both, depending on what they used in Session 2. Review with them how to complete the sheets.

Ask students to choose different objects on this shape hunt than they chose during Session 2. Bring along the models of the shapes you used in Session 2.

Note: As a courtesy, you may wish to send an e-mail or note to teachers and other staff to let them know about the timing and objective of this lesson. Some teachers will close their doors so you don't disturb them, while others will welcome you to visit their classrooms. Office and custodial staff usually enjoy these visits by students but will appreciate the advance warning.

4. At each location, choose one shape for students to look for. Show them the model of the shape. If they are completing the task sheets, they should complete the appropriate section. Review with them various strategies they can use to write the words on their sheet-they can sound it out, think about words they know that are similar, or look for environmental print.

5. When you return to the classroom, allow students a few minutes at their seats to complete their task sheets. Remind them that they may want to check the word wall for words that they were uncertain how to spell correctly.

6. If it is appropriate for your class, have students complete the Shape Hunt Reflection Sheet, which you can then discuss as a group. You might also choose to simply gather students together and complete the reflection sheet orally, recording some of their responses on a piece of chart paper or on an overhead copy of the reflection sheet.

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  • Send home copies of the Two-Dimensional Task Sheet or the Three-Dimensional Task Sheet and have students go on a shape hunt at home.

  • Use geometric cutouts to create pictures.

  • Use a digital camera to take pictures of all the shapes found in your classroom or your school and create a book of shapes. The book could have a section for each shape and each student could be responsible for writing the text for one page of the book.

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  • Observe students during all sessions. You want to see if they:
    • Can correctly identify shapes in the story you read

    • Understand the connection between the shapes in the book and the real-life shapes in the classroom

    • Can correctly match the shapes you model with objects in the classroom

    • Are able to apply the spelling strategies you model
  • Review any handouts you had students fill out. You will want to check not only their spelling, but also whether they have selected appropriate objects for each shape.

  • File the Shape Hunt Reflection Sheets in each student's portfolio for use in assessing math objectives as well as evidence of his or her ability to use a variety of strategies to spell and write words. You may wish to have a conference with each student to review the strategies he or she used.

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