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Geometric Vocabulary

Context for this Lesson

Teaching Strategies: 

TOPIC: Vocabulary of Geometry (Shapes, angles, lines)
GRADE LEVEL: 4th Grade
PURPOSE: To deepen understanding of important geometry vocabulary terms
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: An introduction to the vocabulary
MATERIALS: Long pieces of string
§111.6. Mathematics, Grade 4.
(b) Knowledge and Skills

  • (6) Geometry and measurement. The student applies mathematical process standards to analyze geometric attributes in order to develop generalizations about their properties. The student is expected to:
    • (A) identify points, lines, line segments, rays, angles, and perpendicular and parallel lines
    • (C) apply knowledge of right angles to identify acute, right, and obtuse triangles
    • (D) classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size

Common Core State Standards:
Grade 4 Overview
Measurements and Data

  • Geometric measurement: understanding concepts of angle and measure angles.
    • (5) Recognize angles as geometric shapes that are formed wherever two rays share a common endpoint, and understand concepts of angle measurement


  • Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles
    • (2) Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles
    • (3) Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures

String Shapes
Divide students into groups of 3-4 people. Give each group a long piece of string. Explain that the groups will work together to create different shapes or geometrical concepts that the teacher will call out using the string. After each shape, facilitator can reflect with the group on each of the shapes to review vocabulary. Shapes might include triangle, right angle, obtuse/acute angle, square, parallelogram, etc.


Players stand in a circle with the leader in the center. There are several different things the leader can do:
1. Bippity, bippity, bop: When the caller says “Bippity, bippity bop” the player pointed to must say “Bop” before the caller does. If caller just says “Bop” the player must say nothing.
2. Images: The leader points to a player and calls out an image. That player and the two players on either side of him or her rush to make the image before the leader counts to three. For example, if the leader calls “Elephant,” the player pointed to makes a long trunk with one arm, while the peoples on either side each form an ear in a “C” shape. Besides shapes, the center player can also call “Donkey one-two-three”, which simply means to freeze in place. In this lesson, the leader and students can decide what the shapes look like together for vocabulary review before the game begins.
If a player messes up, there are two options: 1) the player switches places with the person facilitating in the middle, or 2) everyone in the circle switches places to form a new circle and the facilitator stays in the center.
Possible shapes include: Acute Angle, Obtuse Angle, Right Angle, Perpendicular lines, Intersecting lines, Parallel lines, Circle, Square


Describe: What did we do today?
Analyze: What shapes did we review? What geometric ideas did we review?
Relate: Where do you see these shapes in daily life?