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Shape Draw

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Shape Draw

This challenge is designed to be worked on with a friend or in a small group.

You will need to print off and cut out the eight cards from this sheet.

Can you use the information on the cards to draw the one shape which is being described?

Did you need all the information that was given?  Why or why not?

If you would prefer to work on-screen, you may find the interactivity below useful. It allows you to drag the cards around so you can organise them as you are thinking.


Why do this problem?

This activity will help to consolidate learners' understanding of properties of quadrilaterals, area, perimeter and symmetry. It could be a useful assessment task.

The activity is also a good context in which to encourage children to approach a task flexibly, in this case by being open to adapt their solution to fit all the criteria, as more information becomes available. You can read more about developing a flexible approach through geometry in this article.

Possible approach

Give pairs or small groups copies of the cards and simply explain that their task is to draw the shape that is being described. Alternatively, if you have tablets available, you could give learners access to the interactive cards rather than printing them out. Try not to say anything more at this stage. Stand back and observe the children as they begin the task. You may like to have centimetre squared paper available, should learners ask for it. 

As you move around the room, watch out for those who have an organised approach. Perhaps they are discussing each card in turn and agreeing what it tells them. Perhaps they have noticed some cards which together help narrow down the possibilities. Bring the class together to share thoughts so far (a mini-plenary) which will help some children 'get off the ground' and others by giving them chance to articulate their ideas.

Alternatively, if you would like to place more emphasis on drawing/construction, you could introduce the task slightly differently. Ask each group to place all the cards face down and then turn over one card. In pairs, learners then draw a single shape that fits that criterion and then compare their drawing with other pair/s in the group. The group then turns over a second card and each pair modifies their drawing so that the new shape meets both criteria. Pairs can compare for a second time. This process is repeated until all the cards have been turned over.

Having given time for learners to complete the task, the plenary could focus on whether all the information was needed. Were there any cards that were superfluous? Which ones? Why? You may find it helpful to use the interactive cards projected on the whiteboard during the plenary so that you can move them around as appropriate, as the discussion progresses.

Key questions

What does this card tell you about the shape?
What do we know now?
How are you keeping track of what you know so far?

Possible extension

Some learners might relish the challenge of creating their own version of this task. You may wish to stipulate that there must be one solution, or perhaps you'd like them to create a task which has two or more possible outcomes. Of course, once a new activity is completed it must be tried out!

Possible support

You could give some children a sheet with some possible shapes on it, one of which is the solution. That way, the task becomes one which involves comparing and contrasting, rather than creating.