3rd Grade Math : Unit #11 - Going Batty Over Measurement and Geometry : Lesson #12

What Makes a Shape? Analyzing and Script Writing

Objective: Students will be able to define quadrilaterals according to their attributes and communicate this learning using the application ShowMe.
Standards: 3.G.A.1 MP1 MP4 MP5 MP6 MP7
Subject(s): Math
60 minutes
1 Mini Lesson - 15 minutes

As a whole class, we write rules and vocabulary terms to define what constitutes quadrilaterals, parallelograms, and rhombuses. We will discuss angles, parallel line sets, non-parallel lines, and number of sides by looking at various examples and non-examples.  

I ask students to look at examples and discuss, first with their partners, and then as a whole class, what they notice, or don't notice, about each sample.  

As we discuss, we create a chart of terms and rules on the board.  You can find our completed chart in the resource section of this lesson section. 

It will be important to guide this conversation and build common language while sorting shapes.  I have the students play a very fast game of "I Spy" with their shoulder partner, using objects in the room, while using the terms on the board. 

One such game might be, "I spy a shape with 4 line segments, 2 sets of parallel lines, and 4 right angles." The answers could be our windows, the bricks of the wall, a book, etc...

2 Active Engagement - 25 minutes

To practice naming and categorizing shapes, students analyze our bat house pieces and describe them using the geometric terms from the board.  I instruct students to observe all of the faces and edges of each piece. As the children work, I help them categorize the shapes by describing them using attributes.  For example, I ask students to describe the parallel lines, or the angles they see in the shapes.  In doing this, I orient the children to looking further than naming the shape based on memory of the visual.

I prompt the students to draw each bat house piece (shape) in their journals and label the attributes, in preparation for the ShowMe project tomorrow. 

This student is thinking about what else to write.  All she had was that the shape has four right angles.  I am able to prompt her communication and realized she notices much more than simply the angles.  This type of conferring is essential in projects like this, as students tend to organize/think around one attribute.  At the end of our conversation, I ask her to write all that she shared with me. 


3 Closing - 5 minutes

To close the lesson and prepare for the next day's technology component, I ask teams to share what they have written and noticed about the quadrilaterals of our bat houses with a partner team.  As these teams meet, I circulate and prompt them to go shape-by-shape and compare attribute lists. 

I also ask the teams to report out what they still need to do in order to be prepared for filming their ShowMe. 

Critiquing Others

Each of the bat houses were built with the same shapes, so comparing the attribute descriptions was a good review for each person.  Some of the students used the same terms to describe their quadrilaterals, which verified their work and thinking.

Others wrote different ideas, which caused a healthy debate over why different terms were used or not used.  This is where the natural work of revision and critiquing came into play with the day's task.

As your students learn to communicate and assess each other's work, this strategy of "checking in" creates a real world opportunity for the students.  When they meet, they begin to check their own work, but naturally begin to ask questions about why their work may be different.  

And remember, you can't rush this type of discussion so try to find ways to organize these pivotal discussions so that you have adequate time for discussion.