General Interaction Ideas: Shape

Step in Progression
Interaction Ideas
Objects the same
As the children play with objects in the learning environment ask them to find objects that are like a given object. This will draw their attention to the different features of objects.
  • Can you find an object like Sam's one?
  • Can you see two objects the same? 
  • Have you got an object like this one?
  • Please get me one that looks like this.
  • Can you find me another one like that?
Encourage children to describe the features that are the same:
  • Why is it like Sam's?
  • Why are they the same?
  • What makes it similar?
  • How are they the same?
  • Which parts are the same?
Watch for:
Do children identify objects that are similar by focusing on features that are shared? Can they describe these similarities? What features do they focus on and can they use a range of features to find objects that are alike?
Objects the same and different
As opportunities arise, ask children to sort objects they are playing with on the basis of their similarities and differences. This will develop their understanding that objects can be grouped on the basis of their similarities.
  • Can you make a pile of objects/shapes that are alike? How are they the same?
  • Can you sort these objects into groups?   How shall we sort them?
  • Which pile/group should I put this object/shape in? 
  • Where does this object belong? How do you know?
Follow the sorting with questions that encourage children to describe their thinking with a focus on the features of the objects/shapes:
  • How is this object/shape the same as the ones in this pile?
  • How is this object/shape different to those ones? 
  • What is the same about the objects/shapes in this pile?
  • Why did you put these objects/shapes together?
  • Why don’t these objects/shapes belong with these ones?
  • Why does this object/shape belong in that group?
Watch for:
By listening to the kinds of attributes that the children use in their sorting, you will be able to tell which features they know and use and how they think about shapes. 
Classifying objects
As opportunities present themselves encourage children to group objects they are playing with by their geometric features.
  • I see your shape has 3 sides and is flat. It's called a triangle. Can you find another one like it?
  • What is your tin like? Yes, it is round and long, isn't it? Can you find any other objects like that?
  • How many corners does that square have? Can you find any other shapes that have 4 corners?
  • This cube has 6 sides. Can you find another one like this?
Encourage children to identify the shared features of the groups they have made:
  • Tell me about these objects.
  • What are these circles like?
  • How are these objects alike?
  • What’s the same about all these ones?
Watch for:
What groups of 2-dimensional shapes and 3-dimensional objects are familiar to children? Can they describe the features of these groups? 

Click for a version with the questions in both English and Māori.

Download a PDF of this page (21KB)