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What Shape and Colour?

Fill in the empty boxes.

Insert the correct shapes


Why do this problem?

This problem will help children to build and recognise table structure and at the same time it will reinforce the names of some common 2D shapes.

Possible approach

You could start by having a 2 by 2 table on the board, which might just have red and blue, for example, and circles and squares. Cut out large cardboard shapes: a red circle, a blue circle, a red square and a blue square. Alternatively, you could prepare an interactive whiteboard slide with the table already drawn and four shapes to drag.

Without showing them the shapes you have prepared, ask children to talk about the empty table in pairs to see if they can work out what it might mean. As they share their thoughts, draw attention to the rows and columns so that they understand the structure of a table. They could then suggest where the four shapes would go. Learners could then try the problem itself in pairs, perhaps using this sheet.

Bring them together to talk about their solution (you may like to have a large version displayed on the board). Invite some pairs to explain how they went about filling in the table. Of course they will not have necessarily added shapes in the same order and you could focus on the fact that there are many different ways of doing it. There may be some discussion about whether, for example, all the triangles have to be exactly the same shape and size, and just differ in colour. Some children might argue that the triangle picture in the row heading means any triangle.

Key questions

What shapes will go in this row?
What colour shapes will go in this column?
What will go in this box?

Possible extension

A challenging extension to this problem would be the Teddy Town investigation.

Possible support

You may wish to provide pictures of the missing shapes for some children. This sheet has the grid on it with the missing shapes underneath, which children could cut out and place in the boxes.