This is not a… -Properties of a Shape

Topic: Properties of Shapes
CLI Strategy: This is Not A…
Subject: Math
TEKS: 3.8, 4.8, 5.7
Grade: Upper Elementary

Students will be able to: identify and describe attributes of geometric figures using formal geometric language


  • Have students sit in a circle.  Show students a 3D geometric figure, and ask them to describe its attributes.  Record some of these responses on the board.
  • Tell students that they are going to pass the figure around the circle.  When they receive the object, they are going to name an attribute of the object, and then turn the object into something imaginary (that does not have to resemble the shape of the object) using a dramatic gesture.  ie: “This is a rectangular prism with 8 vertices; it also my getaway car.” (Student pretends the prism is a steering wheel.)  The student then passes the figure to the student next to her, who repeats the routine.  Students can use the same or a different equation than others who have gone before them; students can also use an equation from the board for support.
  • Model first, then pass the paper to the student next to you.
  • After the paper is passed around the circle, repeat the activity again, passing the paper in the opposite direction or timing the students as a game to beat the clock.

Possible Reflection Questions

  • Describe: What were some different values for _____ that we did not record at the beginning of this lesson?
  • Analyze: If our number were 1 greater, how would that change our equations?  What if our number were 1 less?
  • Relate: How did it feel to participate in this activity?  What did we do as a classroom community to “beat the clock”?

This is Not a Triangle is a great strategy to practice vocabulary.  We discussed using this strategy with geometric figures. (ie: This is not a triangular prism, it is a toothbrush.) Students sit in two parallel lines and trade items back and forth with the partner in front of them.  When you ring the chimes, students pass their object to the right, and start again with their new geometric figure.  You could also ask students to describe the properties of the shape before transforming it. (ie: This is not only a cube with 8 vertices, 8 faces, and 8 edges; it is my new diamond ring.)  This strategy could be a quick engage or reflection strategy you use daily during your geometry unit.

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