Square Moves

Primary (Age 6 – 9)

Curriculum Goal

Primary: Geometry and Spatial Sense

  • Give and follow multistep instructions involving movement from one location to another, including distances, half- and quarter-turns.


  • In person, students should have a clear view of the Challenge.
  • Online, the teacher will share their screen in a virtual space; students will use Jamboard.


  • Google Slide Deck with challenges and teacher prompts in presenter notes (Appendix A)
  • In-class version: 10 square tiles per student (same colour) 
    • If possible, use magnetic tiles with a metal cookie sheet. This will be easier for students.
    • Online version: Jamboard with the different challenges (Appendix B).

Part of our spatial toolkit...


  • Provide students with square tiles or access to the Jamboard
  • Inform students they will be playing a game that will challenge them to transform one shape into another by moving square tiles.
  • Show Image 1A to the class and invite students to recreate it.
    • If using Jamboard, students will see Image 1A already constructed.
    • When everyone is ready, share Image 1B, alongside the Image 1A. 
    • Ask students to imagine how they could make the new shape by moving only one square on the original image.
    • Before students make any moves on their own, invite students to use positional language to describe how they would make the transformation.
  • Repeat with Image 2A and 2B, etc. As the challenge increases, so too does the number of moves required to complete the challenge. 
  • Have students find the minimum number of moves to transform Shape A to Shape B each time.

Look Fors

  • Are students visualizing the moves in their mind? Are they gesturing while visualizing?
  • What kind of positional language are students using?

Related Lessons

Students practice flips, rotations and translations using shapes on a grid.

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