Shape Recognizer—Typical
Sub Trajectory: Classifying

Recognizes and names typical circle, square, and sometimes a typical triangle. May physically rotate shapes presented in atypical orientations to visually match them to a prototype. Sometimes names different sizes, shapes, and orientations of rectangles, but also calls some shapes "rectangles" that look rectangular but are not rectangles.


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • Child correctly identifies the triangle from a group of one circle, two typical rectangles, and one typical triangle.
  • Children finds things in the world that are circles, such as breakfast plates, the bottom of cups, tires, and the end of garden hoses.

Help your student become a(n) Shape Recognizer—Typical

Discussions invite children to name shapes that are common in the culture, circles and squares, then triangles. Many find it easiest to start with prototypical examples--squares and equilateral (all sides the same length) triangles with the base horizontal. (However, include other examples as soon as possible to avoid having children think these are the only examples. See the level "Shape Recognizer—Circles, Squares, and Triangles" and the research note there.)

Practice-based Research: Help children "Attend to precision"–an important mathematical practice. For example, triangles must have three straight lines and be closed. For example, a child sees a musical triangle, which typically has curved corners with one opening, and calls it a triangle; explain that, though it is triangular, it is not a true triangle based on the aforementioned attributes. Agree it is called a triangle and ask "How would you make that a mathematical triangle?"

Special Thanks To

Institute of Education Sciences
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through grant numbers R305K050157, R305A120813, R305A110188, and R305A150243. to the University of Denver. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.