Collect the Shapes

Lesson by Aurélie Frégeau

Curriculum – Geometry and Spatial Sense

Grade 2

Describe, sort, classify and compare 2D by comparing their geometric properties.
Describe relative locations and paths of motion.


Whole class instruction; students play in pairs at their desk or on the carpet; educator working with at least two children at a table or on the carpet.


  • 2 tokens
  • “Collect the Shapes” grid (Appendix A)
  • 2D cut-out shapes (Appendix A) or 3D blocks
  • Shape Cards (Appendix B)
  • Attributes Cards (Appendix C)
  • Blank sheet of paper

For appendices, download the lesson plan here.


In this collaborative game, children have to collect all 2D shapes on a grid by giving directional instructions and answering questions on the shapes’ attributes. First, children randomly place 2D shapes on the game board (i.e., the grid) and put their token on a corner of the grid. Students then take turns in selecting a Shape Card and give horizontal and vertical instruction to their partner. Prior to collecting the shape, the partner must pick up an Attribute Card and answer the question on that shape’s attribute. Once all of the shapes have been collected, students open-endedly compare and sort their shapes on a blank piece of paper.


  1. Introduce the game to the whole class by showing children the grid, shapes, Shape Cards and Attribute Cards. Have children talk about the shapes and their attributes, as well as location and movement. Ensure that students understand that the objective of the game is to collect all of the shapes by giving directional instructions and answering questions on the shapes’ attributes.
  2. Model how the game is played with the whole class. Choose a child to be your playing partner and begin by placing your tokens on a corner of the grid.
  3. Choose a Shape Card from the deck and give the student horizontal and vertical directions to the box on which that shape is found (e.g., move your token 3 boxes to the left and 2 boxes down).
  4. The student picks an Attribute Card and must answer the question correctly prior to collecting the shape (e.g., How many sides does this shape have?). With the help of the class, the student answers the question allowing him or her to collect that shape (e.g., An octagon has 8 sides). Note that when students play in pairs they are allowed to discuss the question together if one student is unable to give an answer.
  5. For your turn, move your token incorrectly, allowing the class to direct you to the proper box. Choose an Attribute Card and purposely give the wrong answer to spark a class discussion.
  6. Continue taking turns, playing until all the shapes have been collected.
  7. With the class, sort shapes according to their geometric attributes (e.g., number of sides, number of vertices, polygons)
  8. Provide each pair of children with 2 tokens, a grid, shapes, Shape Cards, Attribute Cards and a blank sheet of paper. Tell children to sit side-by-side, facing the grid. If they need to count the number of boxes prior to giving directions, students can have their partner cover their eyes.
  9. Allow students to play the game and sort their collected shapes on a blank sheet of paper. Students can choose to sort their shape in whichever way they choose, as long as they can explain their rationale.

Questions to Extend Student’s Thinking

  • After they pick an Attribute card, ask: What is the difference between a side and a vertex? Do you notice any relationship between the number of sides and the number of vertices? Why do you think there is always the same number of sides and vertices? What is a polygon? Are there any lines of symmetry for this shape? If so, how many? How did you sort all of your shapes?
  • What were the directional instructions you gave? How many different ways can you give directions? Help students figure out that to be concise, there can only be two ways (i.e., horizontal then vertical or vice versa).

Look Fors

  • Do children use spatial language to give directions? (Note that using spatial language improves students’ spatial skills.) Can children follow directional instructions? Do children need to count boxes prior to giving instructions or can they subitize? To assess children’s knowledge and understanding on location and paths of motion, use observations and anecdotal notes.
  • Do children identify and name the various geometric shapes? Can children identify attributes of shapes? Do children know the difference between sides and vertices? Can children appropriately sort the shapes? How did they choose to sort their shapes? To assess children’s knowledge and understanding on 2D and 3D shapes use observation and anecdotal notes. Additionally, collect the sheet where they sorted all of their shapes.


  • Play this game using 3D shapes and change the Attribute Cards accordingly (e.g., number and shapes of face.
  • Add different Attribute Cards based on Curriculum Expectations (e.g., angles, lines of symmetry)
  • To expand on students’ spatial language, start using diagonal directions or instructions in relation to other shapes (e.g., move your piece 2 boxes to the left of the triangle)
  • For Grade 4, start using an alpha-numeric grid (e.g., move your token to F6) and for Grade 5, use cardinal points.