Elementary Math Lessons: Triangles and Other Basic Shapes
When your child takes geometry in high school, he or she will go through several units on triangles and other shapes. Although elementary math lessons on shapes are not as indepth as secondary geometry, your child will still learn the fundamentals he or she will need later on. Keep reading to find out what concepts will be covered in elementary math lessons about triangles and other shapes.
What Elementary Children Learn about Basic Shapes
Shapes Learned in Elementary School
As early as kindergarten, children learn to recognize 2dimensional shapes, such as triangles, squares, rectangles, circles and hexagons. Students are also introduced to 3dimensional shapes, including cubes, spheres, cones and cylinders, in early elementary school.
Elementary students learn to divide shapes into equal parts, such as halves and fourths, and compare the different parts. For instance, if you divide a triangle in half horizontally, the top and bottom would not look the same; however, if you divide it in half vertically, the left and right sides would look the same. Eventually, students learn to identify this line as the line of symmetry.
Plane and Solid Shapes
Students recognize that closed, 2dimensional shapes fall into the classification of plane geometry. All 2dimensional shapes are called polygons. Solid geometry covers 3dimensional shapes. The categories for shapes are based on the number of sides and angles they have.
Quadrilaterals have four sides and four angles. This category includes:
 Squares
 Rectangles
 Trapezoids
 Parallelograms
 Rhombuses
Triangles have three sides and three angles. This category includes:
 Right triangle
 Acute triangle
 Obtuse triangle
Shapes with more than four sides include the following:
 Pentagon
 Hexagon
 Octagon
Perimeter and Area
In the elementary grades, students learn to find the perimeter of a polygon by adding up its sides. When given the perimeter and all sides but one, students can determine the length of the missing side. They will also be able to draw two rectangles that have the same perimeter but different areas, or conversely, two rectangles with the same area but different perimeters.
Third graders discover how to figure the area of a rectangle by deconstructing it into smaller, equal rectangles and counting them. They are then shown that multiplying the number of units in a row by the number of units in a column gives the same number as the area.
By the end of fifth grade, student have learned the formula for the area of a rectangle, A = l x w. They also know how to figure the volume of right rectangular prisms using the formulas V = l * w * h and V = b * h.
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