Lesson Plan

3. Distinguish defining and non-defining attributes of shapes (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.1.G.A.1 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/1/G/A/1
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP3
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Lesson objective: Explore the characteristics that define different shapes and the names of those shapes.

Students bring prior knowledge of naming shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size from (K.G.2). This prior knowledge is extended to defining and non-defining attributes as students determine what things are true for all triangles, all squares, etc. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is thinking attributes such as size, color, and orientation are what determine a shape.

The concept is developed through work with attributes of a shape to make a attribute train. This will encourage students to study the attributes of each shape and label the attributes as defining and non-defining.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 3 (Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others) as they use clear definitions with peers and define attributes and provide a viable argument reasoning why a shape lacks specific attributes.  

Key vocabulary:

  • attribute
  • defining
  • non-defining


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