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5 Activities for Classifying 2D Figures

Try engaging students during math with these 5 activities for classifying 2D figures.

Squares, circles, hexagons, pentagons, and on and on and on. 

There are so many 2D shapes, all with different attributes for students to learn.

On the way to mastering the upper elementary math standards, students need to get really good at identifying 2D shapes. 

Luckily, 2D shapes are everywhere! From the stickers on their water bottles to the posters in the classroom, 2D shapes are ripe and ready to be picked out by students.

Use some of the activities for classifying 2D figures from this list to mix up how you work on this standard with students.

If you can think of ways to add in items around the classroom or around the school, try to do that as well!

5 Activities for Classifying 2D Figures

#1 | Shape Scavenger Hunt 

Our first activity for classifying 2D figures is one that will get students up and moving around the room. First, try this activity out in the room, and then you can move to other areas of the school or even the playground!

Give students a list of the shapes they need to find around the classroom or school. Spend some time talking through the attributes of each one and how they can be classified.

Then, ask students to brainstorm a variety of school items (off the top of their heads) that are that shape. 

After brainstorming, send students out to find the items they listed (and more)! If possible, have students take pictures of the shapes as they find them. These pictures can be used in other classification activities in the future.

Activities for Classifying 2D Figures

Once back in the classroom, ask students to show their pictures and talk through what they noticed and how they knew it was the 2D shape they were looking for. If they don’t take pictures, take some of your own that you can use for reference.

#2 | Digital puzzles

Students can also practice the 2D shape standards using interactive self-checking digital puzzles. Each of our 4th grade and 5th grade 2D shape digital puzzles comes with 3 different puzzles at 3 different levels. These puzzles can be used on any device that is connected to the internet. They also come with a Google Slides and PowerPoint version.

The puzzles ask students to classify 2D figures through both words and visuals. Click on the links below to learn more about these classifying puzzles.

In addition to classifying 2D figures, we also have digital puzzles that you can use to learn more about shape attributes. This Shape Attributes Digital Puzzle is designed more specifically for 5th grade.

#3 | Shape of the Week Challenge

Introduce a “Shape of the Week” challenge where students are tasked with finding and photographing objects of a specific shape in their environment. 

Feature the best submissions on a classroom bulletin board, in the hallway, or on a class blog or social media page.

5 Activities for Classifying 2D Figures in Upper Elementary

#4 | Shape Sorting Game

Create a shape-sorting game. Find a variety of images of 2D figures and print them to make a deck. With these images, students can then practice sorting them into different 2D shapes as asked, or they can sort them based on individual attributes or features. For example, shapes that have straight edges or shapes that have an even number of edges.

#5 | Game Show Games! 

Game show games like this one for classifying 2D figures in 4th grade or this one for 5th grade are fun to use as you introduce 2D shapes and their features. These game shows were designed to be used in multiple ways in the classroom. 

In their ‘classic form,’ these game shows are great for whole class participation or in small groups, but since they are designed as slides on a PowerPoint, you can print off the slides to do even more activities, as we have shown in this blog post.

Classifying 2D figures is an essential mathematical step. After classifying 2D figures, students will move on to many other geometrical skills, including 3D shapes, area, volume, and so much more. In this blog post, we have some ideas for helping students study volume. Be sure to check it out as your students advance through these skills!

For more ideas for working on math standards in the upper elementary classroom, check out the math section of the Fun in 5th Grade Store by clicking here!

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