Which One is the Square?

By Activity Bank on Jul 19, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Kathy Heydt and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

When describing the setup of our environment, we often use geometric shapes as descriptive terms. “The block we live on is the shape of a square.” “The side of the house looks like a rectangle with a triangle on top.” “The top of the paint can is round.” If a student does not understand these concepts in a structured setting, he could have difficulty gaining information from a verbal description using these terms. This activity helps students to improve their shape discrimination. Lessons include Concept Development, English Language Arts, Math and Independent Living Skills.


Various two-dimensional shapes


  • Provide the student with a two-dimensional square.
  • Allow the student to explore the shape and identify four sides and four pointed corners.
  • Provide the student with a group of squares and one other shape such as a circle.
  • Ask the student to identify all the squares.


  • Make the difference between the shapes more subtle such as by adding a triangle or rectangle.
  • Use other shapes.
  • Add a wider variety of shapes to the group.
  • Use a variety of three-dimensional shapes to introduce the concept of cubes, spheres, etc.
  • Ask the student to select a shape and then find objects in the room that are the same shape.

Hint: Allow the student to explore various shapes throughout the day and name these shapes when he encounters them.