Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.




Early introductions to geometry include a basic understanding and ability to name shapes including triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles, and to be able to describe a physical object (door) using the name of a shape (rectangle). Another component of early geometry understanding is the ability to use words that describe spatial relationships, such as above, beyond, under, next to, etc., in terms of positions of objects in relation to other things (e.g., the rectangle door is beside the square window). Focus should be placed on understanding, such as in recognizing that a geometric shape is an abstraction; a rectangle is the shape that doors, windows, and the cover of a book have in common.

Understanding the Standard:

  • Students can bring in objects from home that represent a specific shape
  • Students will benefit from opportunities to explore the classroom and identify objects that have the same shape as a rectangle, oval, triangle, etc.
  • Students need practice placing objects above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to other objects, and to explain where the objects are.
  • Ask the student to search for a missing object and then describe with words where it was.
  • Students sometimes confuse above and below with up and down. Therefore, they need opportunities to practice distinguishing between those concepts.
  • Have students search for a "missing" object, and then describe with words where it was.
  • Students can play "hide and seek" outdoors, and then tell a partner and write a story about where they were hiding using the terms of the standard. 

Specific Questions To Focus Instruction:

  • Are students able to identify basic shapes? (Example: circle, triangle, square and rectangle)
  • Can students describe the basic attributes of a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle?
  • Are students able to identify shapes within their everyday environment?
  • Can students correctly interpret position words to find an object and describe where something is using those words?


Prior to: Children use words like round, pointy, and flat to describe attributes of shapes, and use the word "on" to describe the physcial action of putting one object on top of another. They must also be able to identify physical models and drawings of shapes.

At Grade Level: Students can describe objects in the environment using the names of shapes. They also consistently describe the location of the shapes, using appropriate directional words.

Moving Beyond: Students will identify shapes by the appropriate mathematical term and identify shapes regardless of their orientation, size, or aspect ratio (how long, skinny, or wide).