3rd Grade Geometry: Lesson Plans and Activities

In grade 3, most state standards for math include the geometry of 2-dimensional shapes. Students compare and classify shapes by looking at the angles and sides of each kind of shape. Geometric concepts are also explained in relation to fractions, where the whole is divided into equal parts.

Find available tutors

Ways to Teach Geometry to 3rd Grade Students

Define Geometrical Terms and Shapes

Most 3rd grade geometry curriculums focus on shapes with straight lines, not curved lines. You'll introduce measurements, such as perimeter and area, to your class. You'll also teach terms, including line, line segment, point, ray, vertical line, horizontal line, parallel lines, intersecting lines, angle, right angle, acute angle and obtuse angle.

Introduce Shapes with Books

Numerous books are available for introducing shapes. One book that will encourage children to notice shapes everywhere is The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss. Besides Dr. Seuss' catchy rhymes, your students will notice shapes through silhouettes - a bug, flower or mouse; big machines, ships or elephants; grapes, peanuts or pineapples and much more.

Other books for presenting shapes include When a Line Bends . . . A Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Icky Bug Shapes by Jerry Pallotta. If you like to use candy to teach a concept, Jerry Pallotta's Twizzlers: Shapes and Patterns could fit the bill.

It's helpful to teach not only shapes but also tangrams. Tangrams are puzzle shapes that can be manipulated into many pictures, as well as shapes of letters and numbers. Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone is one book that has illustrated shapes that your students can match up with the accompanying cardboard tangrams. You may want to invest in a set of plastic tangrams that you can demonstrate with for many years. Alternatively, your students can fold and cut their own shapes from a paper square.

Present Terminology with Body Movements

Show your 3rd graders how to position their bodies to 'be' one of the lines or angles. For example, extend your arms horizontally to form a straight line; extend your pointer fingers to demonstrate that a line keeps going 'forever.' Not extending your fingers would indicate a line segment; using only one arm would also demonstrate a line segment.

Reinforce Terminology with Songs and Poems

Scholastic.com has geometry poems that can be sung to familiar tunes, such as the Bingo song or Do Your Ears Hang Low? Some Web resources even have videos that demonstrate motions to go with songs. Your class will likely enjoy making up their own poems and songs, with or without movement.

Practice and Review

Other ways for students to reinforce geometric vocabulary and shapes include hunting for shapes at school and home, then drawing and labeling them. Giving written and oral descriptions and comparing the shapes found, using geometric terms (including congruent and similar shapes) can also help to cement what they've learned.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Not Your Father's Algebra As 45 States Look to Math Reform

    One plus one will always equal two...but just how students are taught math is going to change. Nearly every state in the country has adopted the Common Core Standards; for math, this means new and more in-depth approaches to teaching the subject. Have we seen the last of traditional algebra and geometry classes?

  • More Blog Articles
    The Pythagorean Theorem: Almost As Easy As ABC

    One of the most useful and widely used rules in mathematics is the Pythagorean theorem. Your child's mastery of this theorem is critical to success in geometry. One helpful method for understanding and remembering a rule like the Pythagorean theorem is to fully explore its meaning and history.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth